David Crosby death: Byrds and Crosby, Stills and Nash songs - what have Graham Nash and Stephen Stills said?

Graham Nash and Stephen Stills have paid tribute to ‘the glue that held us together’

David Crosby, the US musician who co-founded two significant rock bands during his career, has passed away at the age of 81.

The LA-based folk-rock band The Byrds, which the singer-songwriter joined in 1964 with Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, Chris Hillman, and Michael Clarke, is where he first gained notoriety. He collaborated on chart-topping hits including a cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ which leapt to number one in the US singles chart and ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!’.

He joined supergroup Crosby, Stills and Nash, which later also included Neil Young, shortly after departing The Byrds in 1967 after a turbulent tenure. During his time in the band he wrote ‘Guinnevere’, ‘Almost Cut My Hair’, ‘Long Time Gone’, ‘Delta’ and ‘Deja Vu’ – however constant clashing led the band to topple in the 1970s.

Over the years, the band sporadically re-grouped, including when Crosby and Nash recorded and toured regularly. Crosby was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice for his role in both bands.

Here is everything you need to know about him.

How did he die?

David Crosby performing in 2011 (Photo: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for OCRF)

In a statement to US outlet Variety, his wife Jan Dance wrote: “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 soulmate Jan and son Django.

“Although he is no longer here with us, his humanity and kind soul will continue to guide and inspire us. His legacy will continue to live on through his legendary music.”

Crosby had experienced health issues for a number of years. In 1994, he underwent a highly publicised liver transplant that was funded by Phil Collins, and caused great controversy due to his celebrity position and history of drug and alcohol abuse.

A long run with Hepatitis C was the cause of his liver issues, and Crosby also suffered with Type 2 diabetes, which he treated with insulin. At a concert in 2008, Crosby, who appeared much leaner than in prior years, told the crowd that his recent weight loss of 55 pounds was due to his battle with the illness.

And in 2014, based on the findings of a routine heart stress test, Crosby’s cardiologist advised him to delay the last dates of a solo tour so that he may undergo a cardiac catheterization and angiography.

The exact nature of the “long illness” that led to Crosby’s death has not been publicised.

Who has paid tribute?

Stephen Stills and Graham Nash, who co-founded Crosby, Stills, and Nash, have led tributes to Crosby, who they have described as the “glue that held us together as our vocals soared”.

“David and I butted heads a lot over time, but they were mostly glancing blows, yet still left us numb skulls. I was happy to be at peace with him,” wrote Stills, in a statement shared with the PA news agency.

“He was without question a giant of a musician, and his harmonic sensibilities were nothing short of genius. The glue that held us together as our vocals soared, like Icarus, towards the sun. I am deeply saddened at his passing and shall miss him beyond measure.”

Nash remembered his bandmate for being “fearless in life and in music”. The 80-year-old added that his heart is with Crosby’s wife, son and “all of the people he has touched in this world”.

Sharing a picture of Crosby’s engraved guitar case on Instagram, The Hollies band member wrote: “It is with a deep and profound sadness that I learned that my friend David Crosby has passed.

“I know people tend to focus on how volatile our relationship has been at times, but what has always mattered to David and me more than anything was the pure joy of the music we created together, the sound we discovered with one another, and the deep friendship we shared over all these many long years. David was fearless in life and in music.”