Singer David Crosby Dies Aged 81

The legendary musician of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash died after a long illness.
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Singer David Crosby of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash has died at the age of 81.

“It is with great sadness after a long illness, that our beloved David (Croz) Crosby has passed away,” his wife, Jan Dance, said in a statement sent to Variety. “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.”

Variety noted that the death was a surprise to many, considering Crosby was an active presence on social media and had tweeted as recently as Wednesday.

However, the singer seemed to be aware that his time was coming, suggesting as much when he announced he was quitting live performances eight months ago.

“I’ve been making records at a startling rate. … Now I’m 80 years old, so I’m gonna die fairly soon,” he said at the time. “That’s how that works. And so I’m trying really hard to crank out as much music as I possibly can, as long as it’s really good.”

Born the son of Oscar-winning cinematographer Floyd Crosby, the singer grew up in Los Angeles as well as Santa Barbara, California. He started his musical career during the folk boom of the early 1960s.

Crosby got his big break in 1964 as a member of the Byrds, a seminal folk-rock band that scored two big No. 1 hits with Mr Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn!.

But besides having a great ear for harmony, Crosby also had a bit of an attitude and that led to him being kicked out of the band in 1967.

But he wasn’t without a group for long. He soon took up with musicians Stephen Stills and Graham Nash to form Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1968. The trio occasionally expanded to a quartet with Neil Young.

Crosby made the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of both bands.

In addition, he recorded solo albums and duet albums with Nash, but later fell out with him, saying in 2021 that his former partner “gave the impression of looking after me, but apparently that was all just trying to keep the money coming”.

Crosby also called Young “probably the most self-centred, self-obsessed, selfish person I know”.

Heavy drug use took a toll on Crosby’s life. In 1982, he was arrested in Texas on drug and weapons charges, and he spent nine months in prison.

He also received a liver transplant in 1994 after decades of drug and alcohol abuse.

When Crosby wasn’t performing music, he sometimes moonlighted as an actor, with appearances on Roseanne and The Simpsons.

He was the biological father of two children born to Julie Cypher, the then-partner of singer Melissa Etheridge. One of the children, Beckett Cypher, died of drug addiction in 2020 at the age of 21.

Crosby is survived by Dance and their son, Django Crosby, as well as son James Raymond and two daughters, Erika Keller Crosby and Donovan Ann Crosby, from previous relationships.


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