David Crosby, a folk rock pioneer and one of the founding members of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, has died, his family announced Thursday.
He was 81 years old.
“It is with great sadness after a long illness that our beloved David (Croz) Crosby has passed away. He was lovingly surrounded by his wife and soul mate Jan and his son Django,” the Crosby family said in a statement, obtained by CNN through a family spokesperson. “Although he is no longer here with us, his humanity and kind soul will continue to guide and inspire us. His legacy will live on through his legendary music.”
Crosby’s representatives had no comment when contacted by CNN.
Crosby was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Byrds in 1991 and again with Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1997, along with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash.
“Peace, love and harmony to all who knew David and those he touched,” the statement added. “We will miss him very much.”
A California native and son of Academy Award-winning cinematographer Floyd Crosby, Crosby initially moved to Los Angeles from Santa Barbara in 1960 with the intention of becoming an actor.
Music called his name, however, and in 1963, he formed the rock group The Byrds with Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark.
The band was nominated for a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1965.
Among other hits, The Byrds released the 1965 song “Turn! Turn! Twist!” which became popular again in the mid-’90s thanks to the 1994 movie “Forrest Gump.”
Crosby won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist as part of Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1970.
Crosby, Stills & Nash played at Woodstock 1969. It was only their second live performance together, which helped catapult them to mainstream success.
That band’s first album, 1969’s “Crosby, Stills & Nash,” was an immediate hit, with hits like “Marrakesh Express” and “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.”
In 1970, with the addition of Neil Young, the group became known as Crosby, Still, Nash & Young and released “Déjà Vu”, which contained the hit song “Woodstock”.
In addition to his solo albums, Crosby has collaborated with other music greats throughout his career, including Jerry Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann and Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, Carole King, and Joni Mitchell.
Crosby is credited with discovering Mitchell, whom she also dated.
The rocker battled addiction for most of his life and spent five months in jail on narcotics and weapons charges. He was released in 1986 and credited his time in prison with helping him sober up.
“They put me in a box and I stopped using drugs, and believe me, it totally changes you,” he told The Guardian in 2021. “You go from not wanting to live to being very proud to live because you’re not here anymore.” killing yourself and taking care of your family again, being a decent guy and making music.”
Crosby, especially in recent years, has been open about his health problems.
In 1994, he received a liver transplant. He also underwent multiple heart procedures and has been open about managing his diabetes.
Crosby told NME in 2021 that continuing to make music was keeping him “alive”.
“There are two (centers) in my life; my family and music,” she added. “That even at this advanced age I can have the opportunity to make more music is just a fucking miracle.”
In 1987 he married Jan Dance. The couple shared a son, Django.
Upon learning of Crosby’s death, musician Melissa Etheridge, who fathered two children with ex-partner Julie Cypher using Crosby as a sperm donor, wrote on Instagram that she is “grieving the loss of my friend.”
“He gave me the gift of family,” she wrote.
Crosby’s former bandmate Nash referenced their sometimes “volatile” relationship in a Facebook tribute, writing Thursday, “what David and I have always cared about more than anything else was the sheer joy of music. that we create together.”
The statement added: “David was fearless in life and in music. He leaves a tremendous void of personality and talent in this world. He expressed his mind, his heart and his passion through his beautiful music and leaves behind an incredible legacy. These are the things that matter most.”
Carole King, who Crosby and Nash joined onstage in 1994 to perform “You’ve Got a Friend,” reacted to the news on Facebook by saying “my old friend David is gone, but he left us with his words, his music.” and his beautiful voice.”
Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson also shared his feelings about social media saying he was “heartbroken”.
“David was an incredible talent, a great singer and songwriter. And a wonderful person,” he wrote.