In Memoriam: 19 Music Artists We Lost In 2019
As 2019 comes to an end, we reflect on the talented music artists we lost during the year.
Some spent their careers behind the scenes, like session drummer Hal Blaine, who died on in March at the age of 90.
There were a few who, like Blaine, came to the end of long, full lives – but there were too many others who succumbed to addiction and mental health issues or who were taken by the evil of cancer and other diseases.
Others were taken too soon in tragic accidents, like UK duo Her’s (Stephen Fitzpatrick, 24, and Audun Laading, 25), who died in a car crash in March.
Here are 19 other artists who left us in 2019:
Pegi Young - Jan. 1
The singer, who released three albums and often backed her ex-husband Neil Young on stage, died at 66 after a battle with cancer.
Daryl Dragon - Jan. 2
Best known as “Captain” from pop duo Captain and Tennille, Dragon died of kidney failure at 76. “He was a brilliant musician with many friends who loved him greatly,” his ex-wife and musical partner Toni Tennille said, in a statement. “I was at my most creative in my life when I was with him.”
James Ingram - Jan. 29
The R&B star, who earned 14 Grammy nominations (he won two) during his career, died of brain cancer at 66. Ingram released five studio albums and topped the Billboard Hot 100 with “Baby Come to Me” and “I Don’t Have the Heart.”
Peter Tork - Feb. 21
The Monkees bassist died at 77 after a long battle with cancer. "There are no words right now," tweeted bandmate Micky Dolez. "Heart broken over the loss of my Monkee brother.”
Mark Hollis - Feb. 25
The frontman of British group Talk Talk, best known for hits like “It’s My Life” and “Life’s What You Make It,” died at 64. “Musically he was a genius and it was a honour and a privilege to have been in a band with him,” Talk Talk bassist Paul Webb shared on Instagram. “I have not seen Mark for many years, but like many musicians of our generation I have been profoundly influenced by his trailblazing musical ideas.”
Andy Anderson - Feb. 26
A veteran session musician who had a run as drummer for the Cure, died of cancer at 68. “Andy Anderson was A true gentleman and a great musician with a wicked sense of humour which he kept until the end,” tweeted founding Cure member Lol Tolhurst, “a testament to his beautiful spirit on the last journey. We are blessed to have known him.”
Keith Flint - March 4
Frontman for UK electronic music group The Prodigy, Flint was found dead at his home in England. He was 49. Bandmate Liam Howlett shared on social media: "I can’t believe I’m saying this but our brother Keith took his own life over the weekend , I’m shell shocked , f**kin angry , confused and heart broken."
Dick Dale - March 16
The guitarist who pioneered “surf rock,” died at 81. “We all owe you. Rock on,” Queen guitarist Brian May wrote in an Instagram tribute. “I wish I’d met him. But truly we all benefit from his trailblazing.”
Ranking Roger - March 26
Roger Charlery, better known as Ranking Roger, was the voice of the Beat and General Public. He died of cancer at 56. “He fought & fought & fought, Roger was a fighter,” read a statement on the Beat’s website.
Nipsey Hussle - March 31
The 33-year-old rapper was gunned down in L.A. On Instagram, Drake shared: “F**k. My whole energy is just at a low right now hearing this … you were a real one to your people and to the rest of us … I want the world to know I saw you as a man of respect and a don.”
Dr. John - June 6
The musician who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, died of a heart attack. He was 77. Guitarist Joe Bonamassa remembered him as "one of the greatest of all time and a real genius and gentleman.”
Johnny Clegg - July 16
The South African singer and apartheid activist died at 66 after battling pancreatic cancer. He was best known for 1987’s anthem “Asimbonanga,” which he dedicated to Nelson Mandela.
Eddie Money - Sept. 13
The veteran singer, who had hits like “Take Me Home Tonight” and “Two Tickets to Paradise,” died of cancer at the age of 70. Canadian singer Sass Jordan remembered Money as "a wild and wooly character, a man who’s blood ran thick with the sap of his native New York roots, full of wicked humour and passion.”
Ric Ocasek - Sept. 15
The Cars lead singer died at his New York City home at 75. “I found him still asleep when bringing him his Sunday morning coffee. I touched his cheek to rouse him,” estranged wife Paula Porizkova later shared in a message on Instagram. “It was then I realized that during the night he had peacefully passed on.”
Kim Shattuck - Oct. 2
The singer and musician, who fronted punk band The Muffs and played bass for the Pixies on tour, struggled with ALS prior to her death at the age of 56. “We are devastated about Kim's passing,” read a tweet from the Pixies. “She was a genuine musician, writer and performer who committed her life for the cause. She brought all of her life force to her endeavours and we are fortunate for her sharing some of that life force with us.”
Ginger Baker - Oct. 6
The co-founder and drummer of blues-rock group Cream died at 80. “He was a fiery but extremely talented and innovative drummer,” Mick Jagger said on Twitter, where Paul McCartney remembered Baker as a “great drummer, wild and lovely guy.” Ringo Starr called Baker an “incredible musician [and] wild and inventive drummer.”
John Mann - Nov. 20
Canadian band Spirit of the West’s frontman died in Vancouver at 57 after living with Alzheimer’s disease. “Surrounded by friends and loving family until the end, all were reminded of John’s rich legacy,” read a statement from Spirit of the West. “He was a potent force in music, acting – onstage, in movies and on television – and was world renowned as a songwriter. He was a foresightful activist and charitable figure for several worthwhile organizations. His work will resound long after his untimely passing.”
Juice Wrld - Dec. 8
A rising star in the rap world, Juice WRLD died only six days after his 21st birthday of a suspected drug overdose. In a statement, his record company Interscope Geffen A&M Records said: “Juice made a profound impact on the world in such a short period of time. He was a gentle soul, whose creativity knew no bounds, an exceptional human being and artist who loved and cared for his fans above everything else. To lose someone so kind and so close to our hearts is devastating.”
Marie Fredriksson - Dec. 9
The Roxette singer, who had hits like “The Look” and “Listen to Your Heart,” died at 61 following a long cancer battle. “You were an outstanding musician, a master of the voice, an amazing performer,” her musical partner Per Gessle said, in a statement. "Thanks for painting my black and white songs in the most beautiful colours. You were the most wonderful friend for over 40 years. I’m proud, honoured and happy to have been able to share so much of your time, talent, warmth, generosity and sense of humour … Things will never be the same.”
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