Van Conner, bassist, songwriter and co-founder of the grunge band Screaming Trees has died at age 55.
The news was confirmed by his brother Gary Lee in a Facebook post on Wednesday (18 January), in which he explains Conner died on Tuesday (17 January) “of an extended illness.”
Lee had previously shared an update on Conner’s health in a post on 5 January, in which he told fans that the bassist had been hospitalised with a “liver infection” and was “suffering from an array of health problems”.
The band Screaming Trees was formed in Washington in 1984 by Lee, Conner and Mark Lanegan who passed away in February 2022 at the age of 57.
So, who was Van Conner, how did he die and who has paid tribute? Here’s everything you need to know.
Who was Van Conner?
Conner is best known for being the bassist and co-founding member of the grunge rock band Screaming Trees, which he founded alongside his brother Lee.
Born in Apple Valley, California, the band was based in Seattle, Washington which was known for its flourishing grunge scene. The 55-year-old also played with Dinosaur Jr. and had a side project called Solomon Grundy. He played with Screaming Trees from 1985 until the band split in 2000.
How did he die?
Conner’s brother Lee confirmed the news on Facebook on 18 January, his statement read: “Van Conner bassist and song writer of Screaming Trees died last night of an extended illness at 55. It was pneumonia that got him in the end. He was one of the closest friends I ever had and I loved him immensely. I will miss him forever and ever and ever.”
Gary Lee had been keeping fans updated on Conner’s condition, on 5 January he shared that his brother had been hospitalised with a “liver infection” and was “suffering from an array of health problems since late 2021”.
He continued: “He has not been able to walk for about a year as the result of being in a coma after emergency stomach surgery just before Christmas of 2021. While he was recovering he got Covid which resulted in a blood clot in his lung. After recovering somewhat from Covid he still could not walk and his lungs were badly damaged. He has been confined to a hospital bed at home for several months and has not seemed to be making any progress towards recovery.”
When did Mark Lanegan die?
The frontman of the Screaming Trees, Lanegan passed away in February 2022 at the age of 57 at his home in Killarney, Ireland.
The news was announced in a post on Twitter, the statement read: “Our beloved friend Mark Lanegan passed away this morning at his home in Killarney, Ireland. A beloved singer, songwriter, author and musician he was 57 and is survived by his wife Shelley. No other information is available at this time. We ask Please respect the family privacy.”
Lanegan was the frontman for the Screaming trees from 1985-2000, he had also worked with bands including Queens of the Stone Age, Mad Season and The Manic Street Preachers who paid tribute to him in a post on Twitter.
Who has paid tribute to Van Conner?
Tributes have flooded in for Conner, with Mike Johnson who played with the bassist in Dinosaur Jr. sharing on Twitter: “Rest in Peace and Power to one of the very greatest, a true gentleman and great songwriter/musician Van Conner you will be dearly missed by so many. Love to you forever.”
Drummer Mark Pickerel also shared tribute writing: “Let us lower the flannel flag to half-mast,while we celebrate the life of my dear friend and bandmate, Van Conner, who crossed over to the other side, early this AM. Hearts are heavy, as we’re just a year shy of the anniversary of fellow member-Mark Lanegan’s untimely departure”.
And Flashback Records shared an image of the band’s album Sweet Oblivion, along with a clip from one of their music videos and the caption “R.I.P. Van Conner”.