In Memoriam: Music Artists We Lost In 2018


It was another year of painful losses in the music world. 

As in other years, 2018 had its share of mourning for music artists from all genres. While there were a few who came to the end of long, full lives, too many others were victims of addiction and mental health issues or taken by the evil of cancer and other diseases.

But, no matter the genre, these are 40 artists who left the world with a gift – music that will last forever.

Nancy Wilson - Dec. 13

“We've lost another legend and a shining example of beauty, class, grace and talent,” tweeted Patti LaBelle after the Grammy-winning singer died at 81. “She made an indelible mark on me as she did with so many others!”

Pete Shelley - Dec. 6

The co-founder of punk band the Buzzcocks died of a heart attack at 63. Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam tweeted: "Thank you, Pete, for all the great words and music. Hollow Inside.”

Devin Lima - Nov. 21

The LFO singer succumbed to cancer at 41. The trio’s lone surviving member, Brad Fischetti said on YouTube: “For me, he was a brother. To his six kids, he was a father; to their mother, a wonderful partner. He was a son, a brother, a friend and beloved by so many.”

Roy Clark - Nov. 15

A familiar face to fans of Hee Haw, the country singer was 85 when he died from complications due to pneumonia. “Roy Clark was an amazing musician and entertainer,” tweeted Ricky Skaggs. “He made pickin’ look fun to all of us young kids.”

Josh Fauver - Nov. 2

The former bassist for indie rock band Deerhunter died at 39. "He was a truly sweet and gentle human, and the absolute essence of cool,” read a tweet from Holy F**k. “May his music live forever.”

Beverly McClellan - Oct. 30

“The only thing greater than Beverly McClellan’s voice was her heart,” read a tweet from The Voice, where the singer – who died of cancer at 49 – became a fan favourite in Season 1.

Marty Balin - Sept. 27

The founding singer from Jefferson Airplane died at 76. “Marty always reached for the stars and he took us along with him,” remembered former bandmate Jorma Kaukonen.

Chas Hodges - Sept. 22

The British singer-songwriter, who was half of Chas and Dave, died of pneumonia at 74. Writing in The Guardian, Michael Hann opined: “There was never anyone quite like Chas Hodges. There never will be again.”

Rich Fury / Getty Images

Mac Miller - Sept. 7

The rapper was 26 when he died of an accidental drug overdose. “You were such an incredible person,” Post Malone tweeted. “You changed so many lives. Had so much love in your heart. Never a more kind and sincere and beautiful person.”

Kyle Pavone - Aug. 25

The frontman for metal band We Came As Romans died of an accidental drug overdose at the age of 28. “We will miss his smiles, his sincerity, his concern for others, and his impressive musical talent,” read a statement from the band.

Ned Landry - Aug. 25

An icon on Canada’s East Coast, the fiddler died at 97. Fellow musician Ivan Hicks told the CBC: “He was a great composer, the music was not overly flashy but it was made so that people could play it, be interested in it.”

Ed King - Aug. 23

“Ed was our brother, and a great Songwriter and Guitar player,” Gary Rossington tweeted about his former Lynyrd Skynyrd bandmate, who died at 68. “I know he will be reunited with the rest of the boys in Rock & Roll Heaven.”

Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

Aretha Franklin - Aug. 16

The Queen of Soul was 76 when she died in her beloved Detroit. “Aretha Franklin was simply peerless,” said singer Annie Lennox. “She has reigned supreme. and will always be held in the highest firmament of stars as the most exceptional vocalist, performer and recording artist the world has ever been privileged to witness.”

Jill Janus - Aug. 14

The Huntress frontwoman took her life at 43. Her family said in a statement: “Beyond her accomplishments in the music world and her advocacy for mental health issues, she was a beautiful person passionate about her family, animal rescue and the world of natural medicine. She will be missed more than she could have ever known.”

Randy Rampage - Aug. 14

After the former D.O.A. bassist died in his Vancouver home at 58, Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses described him as a “legend.”

Brad Daymond - Aug. 3

The Canadian songwriter and producer, a former member of Love Inc., was 48 when he died. “He had talent to burn,” recalled collaborator Vince Degiorgio.

Garry Lowe - July 7

The former Big Sugar bassist was 65. “He was my greatest musical collaborator, our wisest elder,” the band’s frontman Gordie Johnson said in a statement. “We were blessed to be on life’s journey together.”

Richard Swift - July 2

A touring bassist with the Black Keys and a member of the Shins, Swift died at the age of 41. In an Instagram post, Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach said “the world lost one of the most talented musicians I know.”

David Livingston / Getty Images

Vinnie Paul - June 23

The drummer and founding member of heavy metal band Pantera was 54 when he died. Slash paid tribute to him on social media, calling him "one of the warmest people I knew. A truly good & fun friend.”

Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy - June 15

The Blues Brothers guitarist was 88 when he died. On Facebook, his nephew Floyd Murphy Jr. said: “He was a strong man that lived a long long fruitfull life that poured his heart out in every guitar solo he took

Danny Kirwan - June 8

The one-time Fleetwood Mac guitarist died at 68 in England. “Danny was a huge force in our early years,” Mick Fleetwood recalled. “Danny’s true legacy, in my mind, will forever live on in the music he wrote and played so beautifully as a part of the foundation of Fleetwood Mac, that has now endured for over fifty years.”

Scott Hutchinson - May 10

The Frightened Rabbit singer was found dead only days after being reported missing. The 36-year-old had struggled with mental health issues. In a statement, the band said: “There are no words to describe the overwhelming sadness and pain that comes with the death of our beloved Scott but to know he is no longer suffering brings us some comfort.”

Rich Polk / Getty Images

Avicii - April 20

Swedish DJ and producer Avicii (born Tim Bergling) was 28 when his body was found in Muscat, Oman. “A beautiful soul, passionate and extremely talented with so much more to do,” tweeted Calvin Harris, while Rita Ora shared: “Gone too soon. I’m devastated. Heartbroken.”

Yvonne Staples - April 10

Part of The Staples Singers, she died at the age of 80 just two weeks after being diagnosed with colon cancer. On its Facebook page, Stax Records remembered the singer as “the baritone who helped propel the Staples Singers to the top of the music charts and into the rock & roll hall of fame in 1999.”

Craig Mack - March 12

The hip-hop artist was only 46 when his life ended. L.L. Cool J tweeted: “It was a pleasure to know you & rock with you. You $tepped away from the game & did it your way.. I always respected that.”

Ronnie Prophet - March 2

The Canadian country singer, who found fame in the ‘70s and ‘80s, died at 80. “Inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999, Ronnie will always be an icon for Canadian country music,” the CCMA shared on Twitter.

Scott J. Campbell - Feb. 18

A regular performer on Broadway, the Ontario-born singer reportedly took his life at the age of 33. His fellow Canadian musical actor Aaron Walpole shared on Facebook that Campbell "was a beautifully talented young man with an already astonishing career that would have flourished more so with time.”

Barbara Alston - Feb. 16

A member of The Crystals, she was 74 when she died after a battle with the flu. “She would always sing around the house,” her daughter Donielle Prophete shared with the BBC, “especially around Christmas.”

Terry Wyatt / Getty Images

Daryle Singletary - Feb. 12

The country singer was only 46 when he died of a blood clot at his home in Tennessee. Among those paying tribute was Travis Tritt. “He was a true country voice and his talent will be sorely missed,” he tweeted.

Vic Damone - Feb. 11

The singer, who died at 89 from complications of a respiratory illness, was celebrated by a pair Canadian crooner Matt Dusk, who tweeted: “He was simply one of the best!” In 2010, Michael Bublé told the New York Daily News: “Vic's voice was incredible, like butter.”

Jóhann Jóhannsson - Feb. 9

The Icelandic composer who scored several films by Canadian director Denis Villeneuve died at 48 of a toxic combination of cocaine and medication. Composer Benjamin Wynn tweeted: “Personally, professionally, and for the world. He was a beacon. A guiding light.”

Dennis Edwards - Feb. 2

The Temptations singer died at 75 from complications of meningitis. “What a voice,” declared producer Mark Ronson. “To be able to properly span generations. What a legend.”

Mark E. Smith - Jan. 23

The frontman of punk band the Fall, who died at the age of 60, was remembered by Tim Burgess of the Charlatans as “a true uncompromising musical maverick. A genius, a curmudgeon and someone whose company it was an honour to share.”

Hugh Masekela - Jan. 23

Considered one of the world’s best horn players, the South African jazz pioneer died at 78 after a battle with prostate cancer. South Africa president Jacob Zuma noted that Masekela’s “talent was recognized and honoured internationally over many years.”

Jim Rodford - Jan. 20

The former bassist with The Kinks and The Zombies died at 76 after falling on stairs. “I always thought Jim would live forever in true rock and roll fashion,” tweeted Dave Davies of The Kinks. “Great friend great musician great man.”

Fredo Santana - Jan. 19

The rapper, who appeared in Drake’s video for “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” died at 27 after suffering years of health and addiction issues. “It’s tragic that he’s gone before he really got to blossom into the man he could be,” Vic Mensa shared on Instagram.

Guillaume Souvent / AFP/Getty Images

Dolores O’Riordan - Jan. 15

The lead singer of The Cranberries drowned in the bathtub of her London hotel room while drunk. She was 46. “She was an extraordinary talent,” her bandmates said in a statement. “The world has lost a true artist.”

Edwin Hawkins - Jan. 15

The famed gospel singer died at his home in California after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 74.

Eddie Clarke - Jan. 11

The guitarist who played on the first five Motörhead studio albums died of pneumonia at the age of 67. “He will be remembered for his iconic riffs and was a true rock and roller,” said the band’s Phil Campbell.

Ray Thomas - Jan. 4

A founding member of prog rock band Moody Blues, he died in England at 76. “Ray was a kind, generous and ‘giving’ musician and friend through all those magical years for the group,” recalled Moody Blues singer Justin Hayward. “I treasure all the music we made together.”