David Crosby, a folk-rock pioneer and founding member of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, died on Thursday, his family confirmed.
He was 81.
“It is with tremendous regret that we announce the death of our dear David (Croz) Crosby after a lengthy illness. He was surrounded by love by his wife and soulmate Jan and son Django,” the Crosby family stated in a statement received by CNN through a family spokesman. “Although he is no longer with us, his humanism and loving soul will continue to lead and inspire us. His legacy will carry on via his great songs.”
When CNN reached out to Crosby’s representatives, they had no comment.
Crosby, with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Byrds in 1991 and again as Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1997.
“To everybody who knew David and those he impacted, peace, love, and harmony,” the message concluded. “He will be sorely missed.”
How was Crosby’s Career
Crosby, a native Californian and the son of Academy Award-winning cinematographer Floyd Crosby, travelled to Los Angeles from Santa Barbara in 1960 to pursue a career as an actor.
However, music beckoned to him, and in 1963, he co-founded the rock band The Byrds with Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark.
In 1965, the band was nominated for a Grammy for the best new act.
Among other hits, The Byrds recorded “Turn! Turn! Turn!” in 1965, popularized again in the mid-’90s by the 1994 feature film “Forrest Gump.”
Crosby went on to win the Grammy for a best new artist in 1970 with Crosby, Stills, and Nash.
Crosby, Stills, and Nash performed at Woodstock in 1969. It was only their second live appearance as a group that propelled them to mainstream recognition.
The band’s debut album, “Crosby, Stills & Nash,” released in 1969, was an instant success, with the singles “Marrakesh Express” and “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.”
With the addition of Neil Young in 1970, the band was renamed Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and recorded “Déjà Vu,” which included the smash song “Woodstock.”
Along with his solo recordings, Crosby collaborated with other music legends such as Jerry Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann and Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, Carole King, and Joni Mitchell.
Crosby is credited with discovering Mitchell, with whom he also dated.
Who was David Crosby?
The rocker previously battled addiction and spent five months in jail on narcotics and weapons charges. He was freed in 1986 and attributed his sobriety to his time in prison.
“They put me in a box and I came off drugs, and trust me, it really transforms you,” he told the Guardian in 2021. “You go from not wanting to live to being really proud of life because you’re no longer hurting yourself and you’re able to take care of your family, be a great man, and make music.”
Crosby has been candid about his health issues, particularly in recent years.
He underwent a liver transplant in 1994. He’s also had much cardiac surgery and has been outspoken about his diabetes management.
Crosby told NME in 2021 that making music kept him “alive.”
“My family and music are the two (centers) of my existence,” he continued. “It’s a freaking marvel that I can still get a chance to compose new music at this senior age.”
He married Jan Dance in 1987. Django was the couple’s only child.