Fleetwood Mac star Christine McVie died of an “ischemic stroke”, it has been revealed. The British singer-songwriter died in November following a “short illness” at the age of 79.
Her death certificate, obtained and shared by US outlets, listed the stroke as one of the primary causes of her death, alongside “atrial fibrillation” and “large atrial thrombus”. According to the NHS, ischemic strokes are the most common type of stroke and occur “when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain”.
Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate, and atrial thrombus is a type of blood clot, the NHS says.
Her death certificate also listed a “metastatic malignancy of unknown origin” – referring to a cancer that spreads across the body – as a secondary cause.
McVie, née Perfect, joined Fleetwood Mac in 1970 after marrying bassist John McVie. She had previously played piano and sung in the blues band Chicken Shack in the late 1960s.
McVie wrote Songbird, one of Fleetwood Mac’s most famous tracks, as well as You Make Loving Fun, Oh Daddy and Little Lies. Although they had a tumultuous history, the band, comprising Mick Fleetwood, Christine and John McVie, as well as Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, are one of the most successful of all time, selling more than 100 million records worldwide.
Their best-known songs include Dreams, Go Your Own Way and Everywhere, and their 1977 album Rumours cemented their fame with hits such as Second Hand News and You Make Loving Fun.
She was among the eight members of the band who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2017, she appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, revealing that she had retreated from the world and developed agoraphobia after she quit the band and moved from California to Kent.
A statement from her family on Facebook announcing McVie’s death in November last year said: “On behalf of Christine McVie’s family, it is with a heavy heart we are informing you of Christine’s death. She passed away peacefully at hospital this morning, Wednesday, November 30th 2022, following a short illness.
“She was in the company of her family. We kindly ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this extremely painful time, and we would like everyone to keep Christine in their hearts and remember the life of an incredible human being, and revered musician who was loved universally. RIP Christine McVie.”
Which songs did Christine McVie write?
McVie wrote some of Fleetwood Mac’s biggest hits, including Don’t Stop and Everywhere. No fewer than eight of her compositions made it on to their greatest hits LP. Her songs included:
- As Long as You Follow
- Behind the Mask
- Brown Eyes
- The Chain
- Don’t Stop
- Got a Hold on Me
- Hold Me
- I Do
- Isn't It Midnight
- Little Lies
- Love Will Show Us How
- Love in Store
- Love Shines
- Oh Daddy
- Over My Head
- Only Over You
- Over & Over
- Save Me
- Say You Love Me
- Skies the Limit
- Temporary One
- Think About Me
- Warm Ways
- When The Train Comes Back
- Wish You Were Here
- World Turning
- You Make Loving Fun
What have Fleetwood Mac said?
When McVie passed away, a statement from the band said on Twitter: “There are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine McVie. She was truly one-of-a-kind, special and talented beyond measure.
“She was the best musician anyone could have in their band and the best friend anyone could have in their life.
“We were so lucky to have a life with her. Individually and together, we cherished Christine deeply and are thankful for the amazing memories we have. She will be so very missed.”
What did Steve Nicks say when Christine McVie died?
At the time of McVie’s death, Stevie Nicks said she had not known McVie was ill until Saturday (26 November) night, and had wanted to visit her in London. “A few hours ago I was told that my best friend in the whole world since the first day of 1975, had passed away,” she wrote in a heartfelt post on Instagram.
“I didn’t even know she was ill… until late Saturday night. I wanted to be in London, I wanted to get to London – but we were told to wait. So, since Saturday, one song has been swirling around my head, over and over and over. I thought I might possibly get to sing it to her, and so I’m singing it to her now. I always knew I would need these words one day… It’s all I can do now.”
Nicks then shared lyrics to the song Hallelujah by Haim, handwritten, adding: “See you on the other side my love. Don’t forget me. Always, Stevie.”
Fellow bandmate Mick Fleetwood also posted a personal tribute.
“This is a day where my dear sweet friend Christine McVie has taken to flight and left us earthbound folks to listen with bated breath to the sounds of that ‘song bird,’ reminding one and all that love is all around us to reach for and touch in this precious life that is gifted to us,” Fleetwood wrote.
“Part of my heart has flown away today… I will miss everything about you Christine McVie. Memories abound… they fly to me. Mick Fleetwood.”
Tributes to Christine McVie
When news of McVie’s death broke online, tributes quickly started pouring in for the musician. Tim Burgess of The Charlatans wrote: “A beautiful voice and such a brilliant musician and songwriter too”.
The band Garbage wrote on their official Twitter: “Gutted to learn about the passing of Christine McVie. Just gutted. Songbird forever.”
The US comedian Marc Marron wrote: “Christine McVie died. One of the greatest rock voices ever. Both as a singer and songwriter. RIP.”
Singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow wrote: “I am so sad to hear of Christine McVie going on to heaven. The world feels weird without her here. What a legend and an icon and an amazing human being. RIP.”
McVie’s death came two years after Fleetwood Mac co-founder Peter Green died at the age of 73.