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The Death of Rock: Medical Causes, Cardiac

Deaths related to cardiac ailments 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 heart problems, deaths resulting from cancer, and deaths due to all other medical conditions. For musicians felled by cancer or all other medical conditions, select one of these links:

includes tumors, lymphomas, leukemia, 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.

Arthur Alexander
heart attack in 1993; he was 53. Alexander was an influential soul singer whose songs have been covered by artists as diverse as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Ry Cooder, and Huey Lewis and the News. "Anna (Go to Him)," "You Better Move On," "A Shot of Rhythm and Blues," "Soldier of Love," "Every Day I Have to Cry Some"

*Ron Asheton
heart attack in 2009; he was 60. Asheton was guitarist for The Stooges, who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. He was ranked number 29 on Rolling Stone's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. (Original Stooges bassist, Dave Alexander ("Zander") died of of pulmonary edema in 1975, likely caused by excessive drinking.) "I Wanna Be Your Dog," "Fun House," "Dirt"

The Supremes

The Supremes: Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, and Diana Ross

*Florence Ballard
cardiac arrest; 1976. She was 32. Ballard was one of the original Supremes, leaving the group in 1967. The proto-type for girl groups, the Supremes set a record for the most consecutive #1 hits (5) by an American group in 1965 (at the height of the "British Invasion.") The Supremes were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998. "Where Did Our Love Go," "Come See About Me," "Stop! In the Name of Love," "You Can't Hurry Love," "I Hear a Symphony"

Buddy Blue
(Bernard Seigal), heart attack in 2006 at the age of 48. Blue was a rock journalist and founder of country-rock band, the Beat Farmers. "Happy Boy"

Erik Brann
heart attack in 2003. He was 52. Brann was guitarist for the psychedelic rock group Iron Butterfly at the age of 17. The band achieved immortality with their 17 minute metal epic, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"(1968). Brann survived fellow bandmates, bassist Philip Taylor Kramer (see 1995) and original singer Darryl DeLoach (see 2002). "Are You Happy," "Most Anything That You Want"

Dave Brubeck space saver Dave Brubeck's grave

David Brubeck
heart failure in 2012, a day before his 92nd birthday. Brubeck was a jazz legend, a pianist and composer. Among his numerous awards are the National Medal of Arts, from the National Endowment for the Arts (1994), induction into the DownBeat Hall of Fame (1994), a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1996), a BBC Jazz Lifetime Achievement Award (2007) and Kennedy Center Honors (2009). Albums include Jazz: Red Hot and Cool, Take Five Live, and Bossa Nova U.S.A. (Although Brubeck passed at an age too advanced to normally be considered for The Archive, I included him because I was able to obtain my own photo of his burial site.)

Cornelius Bumpus
heart attack on a flight from New York City to California in 2004; age 58. Saxophonist, formerly of the Doobie Brothers; member of Steely Dan since 1993. Steely Dan (Walter Becker and Donald Fagen) were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. The Doobie Brothers were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004. Fellow Doobies Bobby LaKind (congas, see 1992) and Keith Knudsen (drummer, see 2005) are also members of the Archive. Doobies: "Takin it to the Streets," "Black Water," "China Grove"

Dorsey Burnette
heart attack in 1979. He was 46. Dorsey and his brother, Johnny (see 1964), enjoyed success as '60s teen idols. Burnette was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. "There Was A Tall Oak Tree," "Hey Little One"

Pete Burns
cardiac arrest in 2016, age 57. Burns was the lead singer of Dead or Alive, popular for their 1985 dance hit, "You Spin Me Round." The artist also appeared on television's Celebrity Big Brother in 2006.

John Cascella
heart attack while driving. He was 45. Cascella played keyboards, saxaphone, and accordion for John "Cougar" Mellencamp. In 1992, Cascella was returning from a boxing match, when he had a heart attack while driving. He veered off the road into a cornfield, and his vehicle (containing his body) was later found by a passing motorist. (Mellencamp was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.) With Mellencamp: "Get a Leg Up," "Paper in Fire," "R.O.C.K. in the USA," "Cherry Bomb," "Small Town"

Alex Chilton
(William Alexander Chilton), heart attack in 2010. Chilton was a member of Big Star, with Chris Bell (car accident, 1978) and Andy Hummel (cancer, 2010) and The Box Tops. Chilton was in a hospital emergency room when he suffered a heart attack at age 59. With The Box Tops: "The Letter," "Cry Like a Baby," "Soul Deep"

Dee Clark
heart attack in 1990. He was 52. As a member of The Hambone Kids, he had a hit in 1952 with "Hambone." As a solo artist, he scored with "Just Keep It Up," "Hey Little Girl" and 1961's "Raindrops" (which reached #2 on the Billboard pop chart, #3 on the R&B list).

Carter Cornelius
heart attack in 1991. He was 43. Member of The Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose, who split up in 1976 when Carter joined a black Hebrew sect in Miami and adopted the name Prince Gideon Israel. "Too Late To Turn Back Now," "Treat Her Like a Lady"

Johnny Cymbal
heart attack in 1993. He was 48. Cymbal had a hit with "Mr. Bass Man" in 1963, and a 1969 hit with "Cinnamon", under the name "Derek".

Vernon Dalhart space saver Vernon Dalhart's grave

Vernon Dalhart and photo I took at his grave.

#Vernon Dalhart
(Marion Try Slaughter, Sr.), succumbed to his second heart attack in 1948; he was 65. Dalhart was a pioneering country musician. In the 1920's he released "Wreck of the Old 97", which was the best-selling single in its time, and was the biggest-selling non-holiday record in the first seventy years of recorded music. "The Prisoner's Song" was estimated to be a #1 hit for 12 weeks in 1925-26. His lifetime recording sales is estimated at 70 million copies. In 1998, "The Prisoner's Song" was honored with a Grammy Hall of Fame Award and the Recording Industry Association of America named it one of the Songs of the Century. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970, into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1981 and into the Gennett Records Walk of Fame in 2007. (Technically, Dalhart is too old for inclusion in The Archive, but he has an entry because of his status as a Country pioneer and because he worked and was buried in my hometown.)

*Rick Danko
heart failure; 1999. He was 56. Danko was the bassist and vocalist for The Band (with keyboardist Richard Manuel, see 1986), who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. The group started its career as Bob Dylan's back-up band. "Up On Cripple Creek," "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "This Wheel's On Fire"

Bobby Darin

Bobby Darin

*Bobby Darin
(Walden Robert Cassotto), complications during heart surgery to repair a faulty valve; 1973. As a child, Darin had rheumatic fever, which left him with a weakened heart. He was one of the original bubblegum crooners, and was married to America's sweetheart, Sandra Dee. (Dee died in 2005.) When Darin was 32, he found out that his older sister was actually his mother; the woman he believed to be his mother was actually his grandmother. Darin won a Grammy for "Mack the Knife," which spent nine weeks at number one. He was 37 when he died. Darin was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. (Read about Darin's connection to the Curse of Buddy Holly.) "Splish Splash," "Dream Lover," "Beyond the Sea"

Paul Davis
heart attack in 2008 at the age of 60. His 1977 hit "I Go Crazy," stayed on the Hot 100 chart for 40 weeks - a record at the time. His other hits include "cool Night," "65 Love Affair," "Ride 'Em Cowboy," and "You're Still New To Me" with Marie Osmond.

Bill Deal
heart attack in 2003. He was 59. Deal fronted Bill Deal & the Rhondels. "May I," "I've Been Hurt," "What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am?"

"Dino" Dines
(Peter Leslie Dines), heart attack in 2004; he was 59. Dines was a keyboardist who played with The Hollies, Beach Boys, and later joined T-Rex. Unforunately for Dines, he joined after the band's heyday. He was one of five T-Rex members to die prematurely, the others being singer Marc Bolan (see 1977), Steve Peregrin Took (see 1980), Steve Currie (see 1981), and Mickey Finn (see 2003). T-Rex (minus Peregrin Took) was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2020. T-Rex's hits with Dines: "New York City," "I Love to Boogie"

Mark Dinning
heart attack at the age of 52 in 1986. Dinning's "death disc," "Teen Angel," went to #1 in 1960, despite being banned by numerous radio stations.

Ronnie Dyson
heart failure (1990). He was 40. "(If You Let Me Make Love To You Then) Why Can't I Touch You?" "I Don't Wanna Cry," "When You Get Right Down To It"

The Mamas and the Papas

The Mamas & The Papas: Denny Doherty (d. 2007),

Cass Elliot (d. 1974), John Phillips (d. 2001), and Michelle Phillips.

*"Mama" Cass Elliott
(Ellen Naomi Cohen), heart attack while staying at Harry Nilsson's (see 1994) flat in 1974. (Keith Moon would die in this same apartment, in 1978.) She was 32. Elliot was a member of The Mamas and The Papas, inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2000. John Phillips would pass away from heart failure in 2001 (age 65) and Denny Doherty after a brief illness in 2007 (age 66). Read about Cass's connection to the Curse of Harry Nilsson. "California Dreamin'," "Monday Monday," "I Saw Her Again Last Night," "Go Where You Wanna Go," "Creque Alley"

Rust Epique
(Charled Lopez), massive heart attack in 2004. Epique was a member of Crazy Town (with DJ AM, see 2009), when the group hit big with the single, "Butterfly." He left the band and later formed pre)Thing (that is not a typo). Epique was known for his hard-living Rock & Roll lifestyle. He was 35 when he died.

Billy Fury

Gene Vincent (d. 1971), Joe Brown, Billy Fury (d. 1983), and Eddie Cochran (d. 1960).

Billy Fury
(Ronald Wycherley), heart attack (1983). Fury survived rheumatic fever as a child, but it left him with a weakened heart, which eventually gave out when he was 42. He enjoyed massive success in Great Britain during the 1960s. "Halfway To Paradise," "Last Night Was Made For Love," "It's Only Make Believe"

Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia

*Jerry Garcia
(Jerome John Garcia), heart attack in 1995; he was 53. Garcia was co-founder of the New Riders of the Purple Sage, but is most famous as a founding member, vocalist, and guitarist for the Grateful Dead. Garcia was found dead in his room at a rehabilitation facility. He had checked in earlier that day to deal with his heroin addiction. Garcia also struggled with diabetes and sleep apnea. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named Garcia one of the greatest guitarists of all time (ranking #13). In 1987, Ben & Jerry's came out with the ice cream flavor, Cherry Garcia, in honor of the musician. For a month after his death, the ice cream was made with black cherries as a sign of mourning. In 2005, the city of San Francisco named the amphitheater in McLaren Park the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater. The Grateful Dead were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. "Truckin'," "St. Stephen," "Casey Jones," "Friend of the Devil," "Touch of Grey"

*Sherman Garnes
died during surgery in 1977. Garnes was the bass in the vocal group, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. He died while on the operating table for open heart surgery; he was 36. Within ten years, three members of the group would be dead: Garnes, Frankie Lymon (see 1968) and Joey Negroni (see 1978). Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2000. "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" "I Want You to Be My Girl," "Who Can Explain?"

Lowell George
heart attack in 1979 at the age of 34. George was a slide guitarist who left The Mothers of Invention to form Little Feat. With Little Feat: "Dixie Chicken,""Rock & Roll Doctor," "Spanish Moon"

Andy Gibb

Andy Gibb

Andy Gibb
(Andrew Roy Gibb), viral infection of the heart (1988). Gibb was the younger brother of Bee Gees Maurice, Robin and Barry, and he was the host of the '80s dance show, "Solid Gold." He was the first male solo artist to chart three consecutive #1 singles in the US. He was 30 at the time of his death. Visit the Archive's Tribute to Andy Gibb. "Shadow Dancing," "Don't Throw It All Away (Our Love)," "I Just Want to Be Your Everything"

The Bee Gees

The Bee Gees: Robin (d. 2012), Barry, & Maurice (d. 2003) Gibb

*Maurice Gibb
cardiac arrest suffered in 2003. Gibb collapsed and was rushed to the hospital for an intestinal blockage, but died from heart failure. He was 53. Maurice was one-third of the phenomenal Bee Gees who scored hits in the 1960s through the 1990s. Maurice's twin and fellow Bee Gee, Robin, died in 2012 after a battle with cancer. He was 62. The Bee Gees were the older brothers of entertainer Andy Gibb. The Bee Gees were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001. "Stayin' Alive," "Alone," "More Than A Woman," "How Do You Mend a Broken Heart"

Andrew Gold
heart failure in 2011; he was 59. Gold was a composer and performer. He had a top ten hit with "Lonely Boy" and composed the song "Thank You for Being a Friend" which later became the theme song to the television series, The Golden Girls. He collaborated with numerous artists including Linda Ronstadt, Art Garfunkel, Carly Simon, Brian Wilson, John Lennon (see 1980) and Paul McCartney. Gold died in his sleep from heart failure while being treated for renal cancer. "Never Let Her Slip Away"

Bill Haley

Bill Haley

*Bill Haley
heart attack in 1981; he was 55. Bandleader of Bill Haley and His Comets. 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." Haley was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and he was also inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In 2006, the International Astronomical Union announced the naming of asteroid 79896 Billhaley. (In 1954, Comet Danny Cedrone fell down a flight of stairs, breaking his neck. He was 33. Fellow Comets, Rudy Pompilli (age 51; 1974) and Marshall Lytle (age 79; 2013), both succumbed to lung cancer.) Read about the connection to the Curse of Buddy Holly. "Rocket 88," "Crazy, Man, Crazy," "Rudy's Rock"

Slim Harpo
(James Moore), heart attack in 1970. He was 46. "Baby, Scratch My Back,""Shake Your Hips," "I'm a King Bee"

*Addie "Micki" Harris
heart attack after a performance in Atlanta in 1982. She was 42. Harris was a member of the vocal girl-group, The Shirelles. The Shirelles were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. "Soldier Boy," "Mama Said," "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?"

Thurston Harris
heart attack in 1990, at the age of 58. Harris recorded "Do What You Did," "Runk Bunk" and the 1957 hit "Little Bitty Pretty One."

Alex Harvey
two heart attacks in 1982. He was 46. Harvey was the leader of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. "Delilah,""Boston Tea Party"

Ulysses K. "Ronnie" Hicks
heart condition (1955). He was 22. Hicks joined the Five Keys, an R&B/doo-wop singing group, in 1952. The Five Keys were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002. "Ling, Ting, Tong," "Out of Sight, Out of Mind," "Wisdom of a Fool," "Teardrops in Your Eyes," "Story of Love"

Canned Heat

Canned Heat, front to back:

Fito de la Parra, Larry Taylor, Bob Hite (standing, d. 1981),

Henry Vestine (d. 1997), Alan Wilson (standing, d. 1970).

Bob "The Bear" Hite
heart attack in 1981. He was 36. Hite, vocalist for Canned Heat, weighed nearly 300 pounds at the time of his death. He was one of the band's original members, along with Al "Blind Owl" Wilson (see 1970) and Henry "Sunflower" Vestine (see 1997). Hite's brother, Richard (see 2001), also played with a later incarnation of the group. "Same All Over," "Let's Work Together," "Time Was,""Boogie Music," "On the Road Again," "Going Up the Country"

Barbara Lee Jones
heart attack in 1992. She was 44. Member of the ‘60s girl group, The Chiffons. "He's So Fine," "One Fine Day"

Brian Keenan
heart attack (1985) at age 41. Keenan was a member of Manfred Mann; later, he was drummer for the Chambers Brothers. Manfred Mann: "The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)". The Chambers Brothers: "Time Has Come Today," "New Generation," " People Get Ready"

Chris Kenner
heart attack in 1976. He was 57. Kenner scored a hit in 1961 with "I Like It Like That." In 1968 he was convicted of statutory rape and spent three years in Louisiana's Angola prison. His writing credits include "Land of 1,000 Dances," "Something You Got," "Sick and Tired" and "Rocket to the Moon."

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
heart attack in 1997. Middle Eastern singer whose popularity soared when he appeared on the "Dead Man Walking" soundtrack with Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder. Khan was 48. "Face of Love,""Long Road"

Major Lance
heart failure in 1994. He was 55. "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um," "The Monkey Time," "The Matador"

Bob Mayo
heart attack in 2004 at the age of 53. Mayo was a session keyboardist and guitarist. He joined Pater Frasmpton's touring band, appearing on Frampton Comes Alive!. (John Siomos, who was drummer for Frampton's tour, also died in 2004.) He also appeared on Frampton's albums I'm in You, Where I Should Be, Frampton Comes Alive! II, Live in Detroit and Now. Mayo also toured with Foeigner, Dan Fogelberg, Hall & Oats, Aerosmith and Robert Plant. With Foreigner: "Waiting For a Girl Like You" With Frampton: "Show Me the Way," "Baby, I Love Your Way", "Do You Feel Like We Do"

Van McCoy
heart attack (1979) at age 39. Songwriter and producer. Most widely-known for his instrumental, "The Hustle."

Grant McLennan
massive heart attack (2006). McLennan was the singer and songwriter for the Australian band, The Go-Betweens. He was preparing for a party, decided to take a nap before his guests arrived, and never woke up. He was 48. The group's single, "Cattle and Cane," was voted by the Australian Performing Rights Association as one of the ten greatest Australian songs of all time. "Part Company," "Streets of Your Town," "Head Full of Steam"

Harold Melvin
heart problems; he died in 1997. Melvin was the founder and original lead singer of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. He was 57 at the time of his death. (Melvin was replaced as lead singer in 1970 by Teddy Pendergrass. Pendergrass died of colon cancer in 2010. He was 59.) "If You Don't Know Me By Now," "Wake Up Everybody," "Bad Luck"

Nick Menza
Former Megadeth drummer, Nick Menza, died after collapsing on stage while performing with his band, OHM, in 2016. The musician suffered a heart attack at the age of 51. Menza performed with Megadeth at the height of their success, appearing on such albums as Rust in Peace, Countdown to Extinction and Youthanasia.

George Michael

George Michael

George Michael
(Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou), cardiac arrest in 2016, age 53. HE died peacefully in his sleep. Michael hit the scene with the pop duo, Wham! and then followed that success with a phenomenal solo career. He won two Grammy Awards. With Wham!: "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," "Careless Whisper" As a solo artist: "I Want Your Sex," "Praying for Time, "Freedom! 90," "Faith," "Monkey," "Father Figure"

Jelly Roll Morton

Jelly Roll Morton

*Jelly Roll Morton
(Ferdinand Joseph Lematt), heart trouble and asthma (1941). He was 50. Morton, who started his career playing in whorehouses, was arguably the first great jazz pianist. Prior to his success as a musician, he was employed as a gambler, pool shark, vaudeville comedian, and pimp. He attributed his failing health to a voodoo curse. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. "Original Jelly Roll Blues," "Dead Man Blues," "Black Bottom Stomp," "Red Hot Pepper"

*Nate Nelson
heart attack; 1984. Nelson, a member of the doo-wop singing group, The Flamingos, died on his 52nd birthday. The Flamingos were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2000. "I Only Have Eyes for You," "Golden Teardrops," "I'll Be Home"

Harry Nilsson

Harry Nilsson

Harry Nilsson
(Harry Edward Nelson III), heart disease; 1994. Nilsson was 52. Singer, songwriter, and John Lennon's (see 1980) drinking buddy; both "Mama" Cass Elliot (see 1974) and Keith Moon (see 1978) died while staying at his apartment. Read about the Curse of Nilsson. Badfinger's "Without You," "Everybody's Talkin'," "Coconut"

Roy Orbison

Roy Orbison

*Roy Orbison
heart attack in 1988; he was 52. Orbison was a legendary, Grammy-winning musician whose career spanned three decades. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987. In 1989, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. "Pretty Woman," "Only the Lonely," "Crying," "Leah," "Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)," "You Got It"

*Bruce Palmer
heart attack in 2004 at the age of 58. Palmer was the bassist for Buffalo Springfield, who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. "For What It's Worth," "Mr. Soul," "Expecting to Fly"

Robert Palmer

Robert Palmer

Robert Palmer
heart attack in 2003 at the age of 54. Palmer was famous for his controversial music videos featuring identical women in mini-skirts and red lipstick. He won two Grammy awards for "Simply Irresistible" and "Addicted to Love." He formed Power Station ("Some Like It Hot") with Tony Thompson (also 2003) and John and Andy Taylor of Duran Duran. "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On," "Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)," a cover of Marvin Gaye's (see 1984) "Mercy, Mercy Me."

Vinnie Paul
(Vincent Paul Abbott), dilated cardiomyopathy and coronary artery disease (2018); he was 54. Vinnie Paul was the drummer and co-founder of Pantera and Damageplan (with his brother, "Dimebag" Darrell, see 2004) and a member of Hellyeah. Pantera: "Planet Caravan," "Revolution is My Name," "Piss"


America: Dewey Bunnel, Gerry Beckley and Dan Peek.

Dan Peek
found dead in his bed by his wife in 2011. Cause of death was fibrinous pericarditis. He was 60. Peek was a founding member of the vocal/folk group, America. He performed lead and backing vocals, and played guitars, bass, keyboards, and harmonica during his tenure with the band (1970 - 1977). "A Horse with No Name," "I Need You," "Ventura Highway," "Sister Golden Hair," "Tin Man"

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Skynyrd circa 1974: Leon Wilkeson (d. 2001), Billy Powell (d. 2009),

Ronnie Van Zant (d. 1977), Gary Rossington, Bob Burns, Allen Collins (d. 1990), Ed King.

*Billy Powell
(William Norris Powell), heart attack in 2009; he was 56. Powell was the original keyboardist for Lynyrd Skynyrd. Powell called 911 complaining of difficulty breathing. Paramedics found him in his bedroom unresponsive, still holding the telephone. Along with Gary Rossington, Allen Collins (see 1990), Artimus Pyle and Leon Wilkeson (see 2001), he was also a survivor of the 1977 plane crash that killed lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, his sister, backup singer Cassie Gaines, and manager Dean Kilpatrick. Lynyrd Skynyrd were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. Visit the Archive's Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute. "Free Bird," "Sweet Home Alabama," "Gimme Three Steps," "Simple Man"

Billy Preston

Billy Preston

Billy Preston
heart infection (2006). He was 59. Preston was a piano prodigy and considered the â"Fifth Beatle." He appeared on their hits "Get Back" and "Let It Be." In addition to his own music, he wrote Joe Cocker’s "You Are So Beautiful"and recorded with the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, and Sly and the Family Stone. Miles Davis named a song after him. A heart infection in November 2005 left Preston in a coma, and he never regained consciousness. He also struggled with chronic kidney failure. "Outta Space"(which won a Grammy for best instrumental in 1973), "Will It Go 'Round In Circles," "Nothing From Nothing," "With You I'm Born Again" (with Syreeta Wright - see 2004)

Barry Pritchard
heart failure (1999). He was 54. Pritchard was the singer and guitarist for The Fortunes. "You've Got Your Troubles," "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again"

Ma Rainey

Ma Rainey

*^Ma Rainey
(Gertrude Pridgett), heart attack in 1939 at the age of 53. Rainey was "Mother of the Blues." She was the first woman to incorporate blues into vaudeville, minstrel and tent shows, and it is believed that she coached a young Bessie Smith (see 1937) while touring with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels. Rainey was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. "C.C. Rider," "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," "Broken Hearted Blues"

#Marty Robbins
(Martin David Robinson), heart attack in 1982. He was 57. Robbins was a popular singer/songwriter who recorded various styles of music, from country-western to Hawaiian to gospel to pop. Robbins was inducted into the Country Hall of Fame in 1982. "A White Sports Coat (and a Pink Carnation)," "El Paso," "My Woman, My Woman, My Wife," "You Gave Me a Mountain"

Doug Sahm
(Douglas Wayne Sahm), heart attack (1999) at age 57. Sahm was the leader of the Sir Douglas Quintet. "She's About A Mover," "The Rains Came," "Mendocino"

Mark Sandman
heart attack in 1999, at the age of 47. Sandman was lead of the Boston-based Morphine. He collapsed on stage in Rome, dead of a massive heart attack. "In Spite of Me," "Cure for Pain," "Honey White

Mike Scaccia
heart attack in 2012 at the age of 47. Scaccia was performing as part of the 50th birthday celebration for Rigor Mortis frontman, Bruce Corbitt, when he collapsed on stage. He had suffered a heart attack brought on by heart disease. Scaccia was lead guitarist for Rigor Mortis, Ministry, and The Revolting Cocks. Ministry: "Jesus Built My Hotrod," "N.W.O." The Revolting Cocks: "Stainless Steel Providers," "Sergio Guitar"

Doug Schermie
heart attack in 2002. He was 55. Schermie was the original bassist for Three Dog Night. "Black and White," "Joy to the World," "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)," "One"

David Seville

David Seville and the Chipmunks

David Seville
(Ross Bagdasarian), heart attack in 1972. He was 52. Bagdasarian co-wrote "Come on-a My House" (with cousin William Saroyan). As David Seville and The Chipmunks (Alvin, Simon, and Theodore), he had a #1 hit with "Witch Doctor." "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)"

Fred "Sonic" Smith
heart failure at age 45 (1994). Guitarist for seminal punk group, MC5 (Motor City 5), and husband to poet/rocker Patti Smith. Vocalist for MC5, Rob Tyner, suffered the same fate three years earlier. (Bassist Michael Davis died of liver disease in 2012. He was 68.) "Kick Out the Jams," "Shakin' Street"

Jimmy Soul
(James McCleese), heart attack in 1988. Soul hit #1 in 1963 with the song "If You Wanna Be Happy." He was 45 when he died.

Peter Steele
(Petrus T. Ratajczyk), heart failure in 2010. Steele was the bassist, composer and lead singer of "Gothic metal" band, Type O Negative. He stood an imposing 6' 7" tall and appeared as a nude centerfold in Playgirl in 1995. Steele was 48 at the time of his death. "Black No. 1," "Bloody Kisses," a particularly disturbing version of Seals & Crofts's "Summer Breeze"

B.W. Stevenson
(Lewis Charles "Buckwheat"Stevenson), died following heart surgery in 1988. He was 38. "My Maria," "Be My Woman Tonight," "Shambala"

Steve Strange
(Steven Harrington), lead singer for '80s New Romantic band, Visage, and popular nightclub owner. He died of a heart attack in 2015 at the age of 55. "Fade to Grey"

Joe Strummer

Joe Strummer

*Joe Strummer
(John Graham Mellor), heart failure in 2002. He was 50. Ground-breaking punk band The Clash were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. "Rock the Casbah," "Train in Vain," "Radio Clash"

Darrell Sweet
heart attack; he was 52. Sweet was a member of 1970s rock act, Nazareth. He died from a sudden heart attack suffered backstage prior to a show in Indiana. Nazareth's hit covers: "Love Hurts," "This Flight Tonight," "My White Bicycle"

Joe Tex
(Joseph Arrington Jr.), heart attack in 1982. He was 49. "I Gotcha," "Skinny Legs and All," "Hold On To What You've Got," "The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)"

Hughie Thomasson
(Hugh Edward Thomasson), heart attack in 2007 at age 55. Thomasson formed The Outlaws but quit to be a guitarist with Lynyrd Skynyrd from the mid-1990s until 2005, when he re-formed The Outlaws. (Visit the Archive's Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute.) The Outlaws: "There Goes Another Love Song," "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky," "Green Grass and High Tides"

*Sonny Til
(Earlington Carl Tilghman), heart attack in 1981. He was 51. Til was the lead singer of The Orioles, who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. "Crying In The Chapel," "Tell Me So," "Forgive and Forget," "It's Too Soon To Know"

Rob Tyner
heart failure at age 46 (1991). Vocalist for seminal punk group, the MC5 (Motor City 5). Guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith, would succumb to the same ailment three years later. (Bassist Michael Davis died of liver disease in 2012. He was 68.) "Kick Out the Jams," "Shakin' Street"

Grover Washington, Jr.
collapsed from a massive heart attack after a performance on CBS's The Saturday Early Show in 1999. He was 56. Washington was a jazz saxophonist who gained mainstrem success with "Just the Two of Us" with Bill Withers, "The Best is Yet to Come" with Patti LaBelle, and "A Sacred Kind of Love" with Phylllis Hyman. His solo jazz hits include "Mister Magic," "Winelight," "Black Frost," and "Inner City Blues".

Dave Williams
hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; 2002. He was 30. Williams was the original lead singer for the metal group, Drowning Pool. He was ranked #82 (out of 100) as one of the top metal vocalists by Hit Parader. Williams performed on Drowning Pool's debut platinum album, Sinner.

Tony Williams
(Anthony Tilmon Williams), heart attack following gall bladder surgery in 1997. He was 51. Williams was a jazz drummer who played for Miles Davis and other various artists, pioneering "jazz fusion". Williams was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1986. His albums include Emergency!, Ego, Foreign Intrigue and Native Heart.

Robert Wilson
heart attack in 2010; he was 53. Wilson was a member of The Gap Band, an R&B trio popular in the late '70s and early '80s, which consisted of Robert and his brothers Charlie and Ronnie. "You Dropped A Bomb on Me," "Shake," "I Don't Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance (Oops Upside Your Head)"

Tom "T-Bone" Wolk
heart attack in 2010; he was 58. Wolk was bassist for Hall & Oates and a former member of the Saturday Night Live Band. He also worked with Daryl Hall on solo projects, and he collaborated with Carly Simon, Squeeze, Elvis Costello and Billy Joel. With Hall & Oates: "One on One," "Maneater," "Out of Touch," "Method of Modern Love," "So Close"

Allen Woody
(Douglas Allen Woody), most likely a heart attack in 2000. He was 44. Woody played bass for the Artimus Pyle Band, the Allman Brothers Band (he replaced Lamar Williams - see 1983, who replaced Berry Oakley - see 1972), and Gov't Mule. He was found dead, seated ina chair, by a maid in a Queens (NY) hotel room. The Allman Brothers were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. (Woody was not included in the induction, having joined the band in 1989.) The Allmans: "Whipping Post," "Ramblin' Man," "Midnight Rider." With Gov't Mule: "Mother Earth," "Temporary Saint," "Dolphineus"

Phillipe Wynne
heart attack. He was 43. Wynne was the former lead singer of the Spinners. He suffered a fatal heart attack while on stage in California in 1984. "I'll Be Around," "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love?" "Then Came You"(with Dionne Warwick)

*Zal Yanovsky
heart attack in 2002; he was 57. Founding member and original guitarist for The Lovin' Spoonful, he left the group in 1967. The album, The Best of The Lovin' Spoonful (1967), charts for an entire year, peaking at #3. The group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. Yanovsky contributed to the hits, "Do You Believe in Magic," "Daydream," "Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind," "Summer in the City," and "Good Time Music"

Paul Young
heart attack in 2000. He was 53. Young was a singer and percussionist with the bands Sad Cafe and Mike + the Mechanics. With Sad Cafe: "Everyday Hurts," "Run Home Girl." With Mike + the Mechanics: "The Living Years," "All I Need is a Miracle," "Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground)"