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The Death of Rock: Medical Causes, Cancer

Deaths resulting from cancer are listed on this page. Because the Medical section has the most number of entries, I have divided it into three pages: deaths attributed to cardiac ailments, deaths resulting from cancer, and deaths due to all other medical conditions. For musicians felled by heart problems or all other medical conditions, select one of these links:

Cardiac afflictions
includes heart attacks, cardiac arrests, heart disease, etc.

General medical conditions
all other medical conditions that are not heart- or cancer-related.


Some entries have special notations prior to their names. They represent induction into one of the following Halls of Fame:
* denotes induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
# indicates induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
^ symbolizes induction into the Blues Hall of Fame.

Chrissy Amphlett
breast cancer (2013); she was 58. Amphlett was the lead singer of Australian group, The Divinyls. Although popular in Australia, their only major US hit was 1991's "I Touch Myself," which reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Amphlett disclosed in 2010 that she had been diagnosed with cancer, but since she was also suffering from multiple sclerosis, she would be unable to undergo any radiation treatment. "Pleasure and Pain," "Make Out Alright," "Boys in Town"

Carl Anderson
leukemia, 2004. He was four days shy of his 59th birthday. Anderson was a jazz musician and actor, nominated for a Golden Globe for his perfomrance as Judas Iscariot in Broadway's Jesus Christ, Superstar. His self-titled album produced a #2 pop hit, "Friends and Lovers," a duet with Gloria Loring. "How Deep Does It Go," "Pieces Of A Heart," "Hot Coffee"

The Honkettes

The Honkettes: Cassie Gaines, Leslie Hawkins, and Jo Jo Billingsley.

Jo Jo Billingsley
(Deborah Jo White), cancer (2010); she was 58. Billigsley was one of The Honkettes, the trio of back-up singers for Southern rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Billingsley had a dream prior to the 1977 plane crash in which she foresaw the tragedy. She was the only band member not on the fatal flight. Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. For the entire story of the legendary plane crash, visit the Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute. "Free Bird," "Sweet Home Alabama," "Simple Man"

Bill Black
brain tumor. He was 39 (1965). Black backed Elvis Presley (see 1977) before forming Bill Black's Combo and placing eight hits in the US Top 40. "White Silver Sands," "Josephine," "Smokie - Part 2"

*Jim Capaldi
stomach cancer; he was 60. Capaldi was the drummer for Traffic and later formed his own band, The Contenders. He was a five-time winner of BMI or ASCAP for the most-played songs in the United States. Traffic were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. "Paper Sun," "Forty Thousand Headmen," "Dear Mr. Fantasy," "Feelin' Alright"

Eric Carr
cancer (1991). He was 41. Carr was the drummer for the ostentatious rock band, Kiss. He played with the band from 1980-1991 as "The Fox." "Rock And Roll All Night," "Lick It Up," "Detroit Rock City"

Randy Castillo
squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer) in 2002. He was 51. Castillo was the drummer for Ozzy Osbourne and briefly played with Motley Crue. Albums with Osbourne include: The Ultimate Sin, No Rest for the Wicked, and No More Tears.

Philip Chevron
(Philip Ryan), esophageal cancer in 2013. He was 56. Chevron was a singer-songwriter and guitarist, member of the Irish punk band, The Pogues. "Sunny Side of the Street," "Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah," "Tuesday Morning"

Odia Coates
breast cancer (1991); she was 49. Coates sang with Paul Anka on 1974's "You're Having My Baby."


"Nat "King" Cole

*Nat "King" Cole
(Nathaniel Adams Cole), lung cancer; 1965. He was 45. Cole sang and hosted a weekly variety show, The Nat King Cole Show, on NBC in 1957. It lasted for 64 episodes; Cole was the first black man to host a program on televison. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Alabama Hall of Fame in 1985. Cole was also named an Icon and awarded the Jay McShann Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in 2005. "Unforgettable," "Mona Lisa"

John Coltrane

John Coltrane

John Coltrane
liver cancer (1967) at age 40. Coltrane was once a member of Miles Davis's group, and is arguably the greatest jazz saxophonist on record. It was rumoured that his liver problems were caused by a lengthy addiction to alcohol and heroin. In 1965, Coltrane was inducted into the Down Beat Magazine Jazz Hall of Fame, and he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992. In 2007, he was awarded a special citation by the Pulitzer Prize Committee. His legendary albums include My Favorite Things, Live at the Village Vanguard, and A Love Supreme.

Arthur Conley
intestinal cancer (2003). He passed away at his home in Netherlands at the age of 57. Conley recorded the 1967 hit, "Sweet Soul Music."

Rich Cronin
leukemia in 2010. He was 35. Cronin wrote LFO's (Lyte Funky Ones) ubiquitous hit of the summer of 1999, "Summer Girls": "New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits / Chinese food makes me sick / And I think it's fly when girls stop by for the summer, for the summer / I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch..."

Denis D'Amour
a.k.a. "Piggy" - colon cancer, 2005. He was 45. D'Amour was the guitarist for Canadian thrash band, Voivod. Voivod gained additional notoriety when they were joined by former Metallica bassist, Jason Newsted. "War and Pain," "Forgotten in Space," "Rebel Robot"

Bobby Day
(Robert James Byrd), succumbed to prostate cancer in 1990. He was 60. He is most popularly known for the hit single, “Rockin’ Robin."

Darryl DeLoach
liver cancer in 2002. He was 55. DeLoach founded Iron Butterfly, and was the original lead singer. He left the band after their first album, Heavy, was recorded, before the success of "Inna-Gadda-Da-Vita." He survived bassist Philip Taylor Kramer (see 1995) and died one year before guitarist Erik Brann (see 2003).

Patty Donahue
lung cancer, 1996. She was 40. Singer for the '80s band, The Waitresses. "I Know What Boys Like"

Ral Donner
(Ralph Stuart Donner), lung cancer at the age of 41 (in 1984). Donner built his singing career around his uncanny ability to mimic Elvis' vocal style. He narrated the 1981 film "This Is Elvis." "You Don't Know What You've Got (Until You Lose It)," "Girl of My Best Friend," "She's Everything (I Wanted You to Be)"

Jimmy Dorsey

Jimmy Dorsey

Jimmy Dorsey
throat cancer (1957). He was 53. Formed the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, which once included trombonist Glenn Miller ( see 1944), with brother Tommy (see 1956). The Dorsey Brothers had a live television series, "Stage Show," where Elvis Presley (see 1977) made his first national TV appearance. "So Rare," "Ampola"

Gordon Downie
brain cancer in 2017; he was 53. Downie sang lead for the Canadian band, The Tragically Hip. In 2002, the group was given a star on Canada's Walk of Fame and in 2005 they were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. The band has won over a dozen Juno Awards and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2017. "Courage," "Ahead by a Century," "Poets," "In View"

Peter Doyle
cancer in 2001. Doyle was a member of The New Seekers, who scored a hit in 1971 with "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing." He was 52. 1970's "Look What They've Done To My Song, Ma"

Ian Dury
colorectal cancer, 2000. Dury, 52, was lead for the English band, Ian Dury And The Blockheads. Dury turned to music after the death of singer Gene Vincent (see 1971). The Blockheads scored five hit singles and two Top Ten albums between 1978 and 1980. "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll," "Sweet Gene Vincent," "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick"

Donald "Ean" Evans
cancer, 2009. He was 48. Evans played bass with Cupid's Arrow, The Outlaws, and in 2001 he replaced Leon Wilkeson (who died of liver disease) in Lynyrd Skynyrd. For more on Lynyrd Skynyrd, visit the Skynyrd Tribute. Possibly the unluckiest band in rock, Skynyrd lost members Ronnie Van Zant (1977), Steve and Cassie Gaines (also 1977), Allen Collins (1990), Leon Wilkeson (2001), and Billy Powell (2009).

*Danny Federici
melanoma (2008); he was 58. He was a founding member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. It was Federici, along with original drummer Vini Lopez, who invited Springsteen to join. He released two solo albums and worked with other artists, including fellow E Street band member "Little" Steven Van Zandt and Gary U.S. Bonds. The E Street Band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. "Dancing in the Dark," "You're Missing," "Hungry Heart," "4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)," "I'm On Fire"

Steve Ferguson
cancer (2009); he was 60. Ferguson was the guitarist and founder of NRBQ. He organized the first incarnation of the band (which stands for New Rhythm and Blues Quartet) in 1967 and remained with the group until 1970. He briefly returned in 1974, and participated in a 35th anniversary concert in 2004. Albums: NRBQ, Boppin' the Blues

Doug Fieger
(Douglas Lars Fieger), cancer in 2010; he was 57. Fieger was the lead singer of The Knack, popular for their 1979 hit, "My Sharona" which experienced renewed popularity when it was prominently featured in the 1994 movie, Reality Bites. "Good Girls Don't," "Rocket O'Love"

Dan Fogelberg

Dan Fogelberg

Dan Fogelberg
prostate cancer at age 56 (2007). Fogelberg epitomized the mellow singer/songwriters that dominated AM radio in the late '70s and early '80s. His hits include, "Same Old Lang Syne," "Leader of the Band," and the wedding standard, "Longer."

The Shangri-Las

The Shangri-Las:

Mary Ann Ganser, Betty Weiss, Marge Ganser, and Mary Weiss

Marge Ganser
breast cancer (1996); she was 48. Member of girl group, The Shangri-Las. Her twin sister and band mate, Mary Ann, succumbed to encephalitis (or drug overdose) in 1971. "Leader Of The Pack," "Remember Walking In the Sand," "Give Him a Great Big Kiss"

Bruce Gary
lymphoma (2006). He was 55. Gary was the original drummer for the Knack ("My Sharona") and recorded with solo artists including George Harrison (see 2001), Bob Dylan, Stephen Stills, Yoko Ono, and Harry Nilsson. (Read about the Curse of Harry Nilsson.)

George Gershwin

George Gershwin

George Gershwin
brain tumor in 1937. He was 38. Astounding American composer who won a Pulitzer for the musical comedy "Of Thee I Sing." "Rhapsody in Blue," "An American in Paris," "Porgy and Bess"

Steve Goodman
leukemia; he was 36 when he died in 1984. Goodman was a popular songwriter who made Chicago the folk capitol of the 1970s. "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request," "Go Cubs Go" (The Chicago Cubs theme song), "City of New Orleans" (hits for both Arlo Gutherie and Willie Nelson), "You Never Even Call Me By Name" (a country hit for David Allan Coe), "Banana Republics," "Frank and Lola," "This Hotel Room" (all hits for Jimmy Buffet)

George Harrison

George Harrison

*George Harrison
cancer; 2001. He was 58. Former Beatle and influential, Eastern-inspired solo artist. Organized the all-star concerts for Bangladesh and was the first Beatle to chart a solo album at #1 (7 weeks). In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named him one of the greatest guitarists of all time (ranking #21). Harrison was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the Beatles in 1988 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004. The Beatles were also inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004. Read about the Beatles' connection to the Curse of Buddy Holly. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Here Comes the Sun," "(Got My Mind) Set On You"

Grant Hart
liver cancer (2017) at the age of 56. Hart was a singer and the drummer of Husker Du. "Eight Miles High," "Makes No Sense At All," "Don't Want to Know If You Are Lonely"

Dan Hartman
brain tumor (1994). He was 43. Hartman was a member of The Edgar Winter Group and scored solo pop hits with 1978's "Instant Replay" and 1984's "I Can Dream About You." Hartman was diagnosed with AIDS in the late 1980s, but it was ultimately a brain tumor that brought on his demise. With Edgar Winter: "Frankenstein," "Free Ride"

Jeff Healey
(Norman Jeffrey Healey), cancer (2008). He was 41. Healey battled cancer since age 1, when retinal cancer claimed his eyesight. Struck blind, he taught himself to play guitar by laying the instrument across his lap. Healey fronted the Jeff Healey Band, who were nominated for Grammy awards in 1989 (Best Instrumental Rock Group) and 1996 (Best Instrumental Rock Performance for "Shapes of Things"). The group's hit "Angel Eyes," from 1988's See the Light increased the band's fame and critical acclaim.

Richard Hite
cancer (2001); he was 50. Hite was the brother of Canned Heat's Bob "The Bear" Hite (see 1981), and he often performed with the group. He also played with Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Hammie Nixon, Studebaker John, and Pretty Things/Yardbird Blues Band.

*Elsbeary Hobbs
lung cancer at age 59 (1996). Hobbs was a member of the legendary Drifters. The Drifters were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Vocal Hall of Fame in 2000. "There Goes My Baby," "Save the Last Dance for Me," "Under the Boardwalk," "Up on the Roof"

Glenn Hughes
lung cancer; 2001. Hughes was the leather-clad "motorcyclist" for '70s gay icons, the Village People. Hughes, who was buried in his leatherman outfit, was 50. "YMCA," "In the Navy," "Macho Man"

Andy Hummel
cancer in 2010; he was 59. Hummel co-founded Big Star with Chris Bell (killed in an auto accident in 1978) and Alex Chilton (heart attack, 2010). Hummel also played in the bands Rock City and Ice Water. Big Star: "Thirteen," "September Gurls," "The India Song"

Doris Kenner Jackson
breast cancer; 2000. She was 58. Jackson was a member of the vocal girl-group, The Shirelles. "Soldier Boy," "Mama Said," "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?"

Arthur "Killer" Kane
leukemia (2004). Kane was the bassist for the New York Dolls, four of whom would die prematurely: Kane, Bill Murcia (see 1972), Johnny Thunders (see 1991), and Jerry Nolan (see 1992). Kane was 55. "Personality Crisis," "Frankenstein"

The Temptations

The Temptations, 1964-68: David Ruffin (d. 1991), Paul Williams (d. 1973),

Eddie Kendricks (d. 1992), Melvin Franklin (d. 1995), & Otis Williams (clockwise from bottom left).

*Eddie Kendricks
lung cancer in 1992. Kendricks was a founding member of the Temptations. He was 52 at the time of his death. Fellow Temptations also included in The Archive: Paul Williams (suicide, 1973), Elbridge Bryant (cirrhosis of the liver, 1975), David Ruffin (cocaine overdose in 1991), and Melvin Franklin (seizure in 1995). The Temptations were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. "The Way You Do The Things You Do," "My Girl," "Just My Imagination," "Papa Was a Rolling Stone"

Pete King
testicular cancer in 1987; he was 28. King was the drummer for the British punk act, The Flys and later joined After The Fire, who had an international hit with a cover of Falco's (see 1998) "Der Kommissar." He was later a member of the German group, BAP.

Bobby LaKind
colon cancer (1992) at the age of 47. LaKind was a member (primariy congas) of The Doobie Brothers, along with saxophonist Cornelius Bumpus (see 2004) and drummer Keith Knudsen (see 2005). The Doobie Brothers were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004. The group (minus LaKind) was also inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2020. "Takin it to the Streets," "Black Water," "China Grove"

Derek Leckenby
cancer (1994). He was 51. Leckenby was the lead guitarist for Herman's Hermits. "I’m Henry the VIII I Am," "I’m Into Something Good," "There’s a Kind of Hush"

*Bobbby Lester
lung cancer in 1980. He was 50. Lester was an original member of The Moonglows, who had a string of hits in the 1950s. The Moonglows were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. "Sincerely, "See Saw," "Most Of All," "We Go Together," "Please Send Me Someone to Love"

"Little Eva"
(Eva Narcissus Boyd), cancer; 2003. She was 59. Scored a number one hit as a teenager with the often-covered, 1962 dance-craze "The Loco-Motion."

*David Lynch
cancer (1981) at the age of 51. Lynch was a singer with the vocal group, The Platters. The Platters were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998. "Only You", "The Great Pretender," "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"

Kevin Scott Macmichael
lung cancer in 2002. He was 51. Macmichael played guitar for Cutting Crew, who were nominated for a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1987. Their song, "(I Just) Died in Your Arms," hit number one the same year. After his time with Cutting Crew, he played on Robert Plant's album, Fate of Nations (1993), including the Grammy-nominated song "Calling to You."

Bob Marley

Bob Marley

*Bob Marley
(Robert Nesta Marley), cancer in 1980. He was 36. First internationally famous reggae star and Rastafarian. Also was a Wailer with Carlton Barrett and Peter Tosh (see 1987 for both), and Junior Braithwaite (see 1999). (All three Wailers were murdered.) In 1978, Marley was awarded the Peace Medal of the Third World from the United Nations and in 1981, he was honored with the Jamaican Order of Merit, Jamaica's third highest honor. Marley was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2001, he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. "No Woman, No Cry, "Get Up, Stand Up," "Buffalo Soldier," "One Love/People Get Ready"

Linda McCartney

Linda McCartney

Linda Eastman McCartney
breast cancer, 1998. Rock & Roll photographer, member of Wings (lead guitarist Jimmy McCulloch died in 1979) and wife of Sir Paul McCartney. She was 56 at the time of her death. Wings: "Band on the Run," "Wonderful Christmastime," "Listen to What the Man Said," "With a Little Luck"

George McCorkle
complications from cancer. He was the guitarist for the Toy Factory, the Marshall Tucker Band (both with Toy Caldwell, see 1993), and Pax Parachute. McCorkle was 60. He appeared on the Marshall Tucker Band albums Searchin' For a Rainbow, A New Life, Where We Belong, and Carolina Dreams.

John Whitehead & Gene McFadden

The Epsilons: John Whitehead & Gene McFadden

Gene McFadden
cancer (2006); age 56. McFadden formed The Epsilons with John Whitehead (see 2004), and scored hits with "The Echo" and 1979's "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now." The Epsilons toured with Otis Redding, and McFadden and Whitehead wrote the O'Jays' "Backstabbers" and Harold Melvin (see 1997) & the Blues Notes' "Wake Up Everybody."

"Stick" McGhee
(Granville "Stick" McGhee), lung cancer. McGhee was an American guitarist (Walter "Brownie" McGhee's younger brother) best known for "Drinkin' Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee", later covered by Jerry Lee Lewis. The alcoholic fruit drink "spodi" supposedly takes its name from the song. He earned the nickname "Stick" by pushing his polio-stricken older brother, "Brownie" (died 1996, age 80; stomach cancer), on a cart that he propelled with a stick. "Drinkin' Wine," first recorded in 1947 and remade in 1949, became a huge R&B hit for "Stick." He died in 1961 at the age of 44. "Tennessee Waltz Blues," "Jungle Juice," "Double Crossin' Liquor," "Six to Eight," and "Head Happy with Wine."

Roger Miller
lung cancer; 1992. He was 56. Enjoyed fame in the 1960's with hits like "King Of The Road" and "Dang Me." Inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

*Sterling Morrison
non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; 1995. He was 53. Guitarist for Andy Warhol’s Velvet Underground. Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. "Heroin," "Sunday Morning," "Waiting for My Man"

Karl Mueller
throat cancer; 2005. Mueller was bassist for '90s alternative band, Soul Asylum. He was 41. "Runaway Train," "Black Gold," "Somebody to Shove"

Alan Myers
stomach cancer (2013), age 58. Meyers was drummer for the New Wave group, Devo ("De-evolution") from 1976 until 1986, their most successful period. "Whip It," "Working in the Coal Mine," "Theme from Doctor Detroit"

(William Oliver Swafford), cancer (2000). He was 54. "Good Morning, Starshine" from the rock musical, "Hair". "Jean," "Sunday Mornin’"

*Benjamin Orr
(Benjamin Orzechowski), pancreatic cancer (2000); he was 53. Orr was the bassist and a vocalist for The Cars. He sang lead on several Cars' hits, including "Just What I Needed," "Drive," and "Candy-O." The Cars were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.

The Four Tops

The Four Tops. Clockwise from top, left:

Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Lawrence Payton, Renaldo "Obie" Benson, and Levi Stubbs.

*Lawrence Payton
liver cancer, 1997; he was 59. Payton was one of the legendary Four Tops. The group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. (Payton predeceased fellow Four Tops, Renaldo "Obie" Benson (lung cancer in 2005) and Levi Stubbs (passed in his sleep in 2008). Abdul "Duke" Fakir. is the last surviving member. "Reach Out I'll Be There," "Bernadette," "I Can't Help Myself," "Baby I Need Your Loving," "It's the Same Old Song," "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I've Got)"

Teddy Pendergrass
(Theodore DeReese Pendergrass), colon cancer in 2010. He was 59. Pendergrass was a powerful R&B singer, beginning his career as lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes ("If You Don't Know Me By Now") and continuing on to an equally successful solo career. (Pendergrass replaced Melvin as lead singer in 1970. Melvin died in 1997 from heart problems at the age of 57.) Between 1979 and 1994, Pendergrass earned five Grammy nominations. In 1982, he was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident. "Turn Off the Lights," "Love TKO," "Wake Up Everybody," "Close the Door," "I Can't Live Without Your Love"

Dave Peverett
("Lonesome Dave"), double-pneumonia as a result of renal cancer; 2000. He was 56. Peverett was the lead singer for Foghat, who amassed three platinum and eight gold records during their quarter-century career. Foghat's guitarist, Rod Price, died in 2005. 1975's rock classic "Slow Ride," "Drivin' Wheel," "I Just Want to Make Love to You," "Stone Blue," "Third Time Lucky (The First Time I Was a Fool)"

June Pointer
cancer (2006). She was 52. She was a member of the late ‘70s – early ‘80s outfit, The Pointer Sisters. The group of four (later three) sisters won three Grammy Awards for their songs "Fairytale" (for best country vocal performance!), "Automatic" and "Jump (for My Love)." Other hits include "Neutron Dance," "I’m So Excited," "Slow Hand"

*Rudy Pompilli
(Rudolph Clement Pompilii), lung cancer in 1976 at the age of 51. Pompilli was the tenor saxophonist for Bill Haley and His Comets. The group was immortalized by their wildly popular, early rock single, "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock." The song held the #1 spot for eight weeks, was used on the soundtracks of the motion pictures "The Blackboard Jungle" (1955) and "American Graffiti" (1974), and was chosen as the theme for the 1970s' television series "Happy Days." Pompilli was named Sax Player of the Year by Down Beat magazine in 1957. In 2012, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by a special committee, when the band failed to originally be inducted with Bill Haley in 1987. When Haley returned to touring after Pompilli's death, he would dedicate a part of every show to Pompilli with a performance of "Rudy's Rock." (Haley died of a heart attack in 1981 at the age of 55. In 1954, Comet Danny Cedrone fell down a flight of stairs, breaking his neck. He was 33. Fellow Comet, Marshall Lytle, succumbed to lung cancer in 2013. He ws 79.) "Rocket 88," "Crazy, Man, Crazy"

*William Powell
cancer (1977). Powell was a member of the R&B vocalists, the O-Jays, who were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. Powell was 35 when he died. "Back Stabbers," "Love Train," "Use Ta Be My Girl"

Eddie Rabbitt

Eddie Rabbitt

Eddie Rabbitt
lung cancer; he was 56. Rabbit was a country singer who scored several crossover hits in the early 1980s. He died in 1998. "I Love A Rainy Night," "Drivin' My Life Away"

*Joey Ramone
(Jeffrey Hyman), lymphoma, 2001; he was 49. Vocalist for The Ramones. All three founding members would die within four years of one another. (Dee Dee Ramone would die the following year from a drug overdose and Johnny Ramone would succumb to prostate cancer in 2004.) Punk pioneers, The Ramones were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. "I Wanna Be Sedated," "Teenage Lobotomy"

The Ramones

The Ramones: Johnny, Dee Dee, Joey & Marky

*Johnny Ramone
(John Cummings), prostate cancer (2004); he was 55. Guitarist for the Ramones. All three founding members would die within four years of one another. (Joey Ramone died in 2001 from lymphoma and Dee Dee Ramone in 2002 from a drug overdose.) In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named Johnny Ramone one of the greatest guitarists of all time (ranking #16). Punk pioneers, The Ramones were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. "I Wanna Be Sedated," "Teenage Lobotomy"

Minnie Riperton
breast cancer (1979); she was 31. Riperton was originally part of the singing group the Gems, who provided background vocals for artists including Etta James and the Dells. Her 1975 single, "Lovin' You," went to #1 in the US. Also in 1975, Riperton was attacked by the lion displayed on the cover of her album, "Adventures in Paradise"; she avoided serious injury. Riperton recorded with Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, Quincy Jones, and others. "Young, Willing, and Able," "Can You Feel What I'm Saying?"

Vicki Sue Robinson
cancer. She was 45. Disco diva who appeared on Broadway in "Hair," "Soon", and "Jesus Christ Superstar". Session vocalist and solo artist, famous for her club hit, "Turn the Beat Around."

Mick Ronson
Michael Ronson), liver cancer in 1993. He was 46. Ronson was a guitarist heavily associated with glam rock. He played with David Bowie, Mott the Hoople, and Lou Reed (appearing on Reed's album, Transformer). Ronson was named the 64th greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2003. Albums with Bowie: The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Aladdin Sane, and Pin Ups. Solo albums: Slaughter in 10th Avenue, Play Don't Worry, and Heaven and Hull (which was released posthumously).

Chuck Schuldiner
(Charles Michael Schuldiner), brain cancer (2001). He was 34. Schuldiner was the founder, songwriter, vocalist, rhythm and lead guitarist for the metal group, Death. "The Father of Death Metal," his obituary in Kerrang! magazine called Schuldiner "one of the most significant figures in the history of metal." He placed at #20 on Guitar World's list of the 100 greatest metal guitarists. Death albums include: Human, Individual Thought Patterns, Symbolic and The Sound of Perseverance.

*Garry Shider
cancer of the brain and lungs (2010); he was 56. Shider was musical director, songwriter and guitarist for Parliament-Funkadelic. He was referred to by fans as "Starchild" or - because he often wore a loincloth while performing - "Diaperman." Parliament-Funkadelic were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Shider was predeceased by fellow band members, Glenn Lamont Goins (1978) and Eddie Hazel (1992). "Flash Light," "One Nation Under a Groove," "Aqua Boogie," "(Not Just) Knee Deep"

Gerard Smith
lung cancer in 2011. Smith was the bassist and keyboardist for TV On The Radio. Smith played on the albums Dear Science and Nine Types of Light, the latter of which was released just one week prior to his death. He was 34.

breast cancer (2006). She was 37. Soraya was a Hispanic singer who won a Latin Grammy for Best Female Album in 2004. Her mother, grandmother and an aunt died of breast cancer, which prompted her to educate Hispanic women about the disease. "Solo Por Ti," "Casi"

Skip Spence
(Alexander Spence), lung cancer (1999). He was 52. Spence was the original drummer for Jefferson Airplane. He left to form Moby Grape. (Spence's replacement in Jefferson Airplane, Spencer Dryden, died in 2005 from colon cancer. He was 66. Papa John Creach, the Airplane's fiddler, succumbed to pneumonia in 1994 at the age of 76.) With Jefferson Airplane: "You’re My Best Friend" With Moby Grape: "Hey Grandma," "Fall On You," "Sitting By the Window"

Dusty Springfield

Dusty Springfield

*Dusty Springfield
(Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien), breast cancer, 1999. She was 59. Springfield died on the day she was scheduled to receive the Order of the British Empire (OBE) from the queen of England and two weeks before her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "I Only Want to Be With You," "Wishin' and Hopin'," "Son of a Preacher Man," "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me"

Poly Styrene
(Marianne Joan Elliott-Said), songwriter and vocalist for pioneering British punk band, X-Ray Spex. (She also released a single in 1976, as Mari Elliot, called "Silly Billy".) Styrene was diagnosed with breast cancer that eventually spread to her spine and lungs. She died in 2011 at the age of 53. With X-Ray Spex: "Oh Bondage Up Yours!" "I Am A Cliche," "The Day The World Turned Day-Glo"

Patrick Swayze

Patrick Swayze

Patrick Swayze
pancreatic cancer (2009); he was 57. Swayze was primarily known as an actor (Dirty Dancing, Ghost). He co-wrote and sang the top ten hit song, "She's Like the Wind," from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. He was named People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1991.

Edmund Sylvers
cancer (2004); he was 47. Lead singer of the Sylvers. "Boogie Fever"

Tammi Terrell

Tammi Terrell

Tammi Terrell
brain tumor (1970); she was 24. Terrell gained notoriety as Marvin Gaye's (see 1984) singing partner on several Motown hits. "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing," "Your Precious Love"

Tony Thompson
renal-cell cancer, 2003; he was 48. Thompson debuted as the drummer for Chic, evolving into an in-demand session drummer, backing many popular ‘70s and ‘80s artists, including Diana Ross, Sister Sledge, Rod Stewart, Debbie Harry, Mick Jagger, and David Bowie. In 1985, he accompanied the surviving members of Led Zeppelin on stage at Live Aid and formed Power Station ("Some Like It Hot") with Robert Palmer (also 2003) and John and Andy Taylor of Duran Duran. Their self-titled album, produced by fellow Chic member, Bernard Edawards (see 1996), was certified platinum. With Chic: "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)," "Le Freak," "Good Times".

Wayman Tisdale
bone cancer; 2009. He was 44. Tisdale was a basketball star (winning a gold medal as a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team) and jazz musician. His debut CD, Power Forward, reached No. 4 on Billboard's Contemporary Jazz chart. "Ain't No Stopping Us Now," "Can't Hide Love," "Don't Take Your Love Away"

Mary Travers space saver Mary Travers grave

Mary Travers
leukemia, 2009. She was 72. Travers was part of '60s folk trio, Peter, Paul and Mary. The trio were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. (Although Travers is past the cut-off age for inclusion into The Archive, I added her anyway because I was afforded a rare opportunity to obtain a grave photo. Umpawaug Cemetery, Redding, Connecticut.) "Puff the Magic Dragon," "Blowin' in the Wind," "Leaving On a Jet Plane"

Domenic Troiano
cancer in 2005. He was 59. Troiano was the guitarist for The Guess Who and The James Gang. The Guess Who: "American Woman," "These Eyes," "Undun" The James Gang: "Walk Away," "Funk #49"

Mick Tucker
leukemia in 2002. He was 53. Drummer for Sweet, who enjoyed hits with "Ballroom Blitz," "Little Willie," "Fox on the Run," and "Love is Like Oxygen."

Gary Usher
cancer (1990). He was 51. Usher was the lead for The Hondells. "Little Honda"

Randy Van Warmer
leukemia (2004). He was 48. Van Warmer recorded the hit "Just When I Needed You Most" and wrote the number one country hits "It Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes" (performed by The Oak Ridge Boys) and "I'm in a Hurry (And Don't Know Why)" (by Alabama). He was cremated and his remains were sent into space in 2007.

*Lamar Williams
cancer (1983) linked to exposure to Agent Orange during Vietnam; he was 36. Williams replaced Berry Oakley (see 1972) and was replaced by Allen Woody (see 2000) on bass in the Allman Brothers Band, who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. "Ramblin' Man," "Midnight Rider," "Melissa"

Milan B. Williams
cancer (2006). He was 58. Williams was one of the original Commodores, who wrote the group's first hit, "Machine Gun." The Commodores were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1995. "Brick House," "Easy," "Three Times A Lady"

The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys. From top: Brain Wilson, Dennis Wilson (d. 1983),

Al Jardine, Mike Love, and Carl Wilson (d. 1998).

Carl Wilson
lung cancer, 1998; he was 51. Carl was brother to Brian and Dennis (see 1983) Wilson, all Beach Boys, inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998. "Surfin’ USA," "Wouldn’t It Be Nice," "God Only Knows"

Syreeta Wright
(Rita Wright), cancer in 2004; age 58. Motown singer and songwriter. She dueted with, and was once married to, Stevie Wonder. She also appeared as Mary Magdalene in a U.S. touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar. "With You I'm Born Again" (with Billy Preston, see 2006), "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," "If You Really Love Me" (both with Stevie Wonder), "Your Kiss Is Sweet," "Spinnin' and Spinnin'"

Beastie Boys

The Beastie Boys:

Adam "MCA" Yauch (d. 2012), Michael Diamond ("Mike D"), and Adam "Adrock" Horowitz.

*Adam "MCA" Yauch
cancer. Posted on the Beastie Boys website the day of Yauch's death: "It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam "MCA" Yauch, founding member of Beastie Boys and also of the Milarepa Foundation that produced the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits, and film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories, passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer. He was 47 years old." The Beastie Boys won three Grammy Awards and three MTV Video Music Awards. The trio were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, just prior to Yauch's death. "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)," "Intergalactic," "Sure Shot," "Sabotage," "So Whatcha Want"

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa

*Frank Zappa
prostate cancer in 1993; he was 53. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named him one of the greatest guitarists of all time (ranking #45). Zappa formed the Mothers of Invention and he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. "Dancin’ Fool," "Valley Girl"

Warren Zevon
lung cancer, 2003; age 56. Zevon began his musical career as pianist and later bandleader for the Everly Brothers. He then penned several hits for Linda Ronstadt (such as "Carmelita," "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me," and "Hasten Down the Wind"), before gaining notoriety as the creator of macabre novelty hits. "Werewolves of London," "I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead," "Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead," "Life’ll Kill Ya," "She Quit Me Man" (from Midnight Cowboy)