David Crosby, rock legend and master of harmony, dead at age 81

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Jan 19 (Reuters) – David Crosby, one of the most influential rock musicians of the 1960s and ’70s and who was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with two different groups, has died at the age of 81.

Crosby was a founding member of two revered rock bands: the country and folk-influenced Byrds, for whom he cowrote the hit “Eight Miles High,” and Crosby, Stills & Nash, later Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, who defined the smooth side of the Woodstock generation’s music.

“It is with a deep and profound sadness that I learned that my friend David Crosby has passed,” Graham Nash, his longtime collaborator and sometime sparring partner, said in a statement.

“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 … and the deep friendship we shared,” Nash said.

Crosby’s wife, Jan Dance, announced the death in a statement published by Variety. It did not specify when he died, nor the cause. Crosby’s British-based representatives could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters.

Musically, Crosby stood out for his intricate vocal harmonies, unorthodox open tunings on guitar and incisive songwriting. His work with both the Byrds and CSN/CSNY blended rock and folk in new ways, and their music became a part of the soundtrack for the hippie era.

“I don’t know what to say other than I’m heartbroken to hear about David Crosby. David was an unbelievable talent – such a great singer and songwriter. And a wonderful person,” Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson said on Twitter.

Personally, Crosby was the embodiment of the credo “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll,” and a 2014 Rolling Stone magazine article tagged him “rock’s unlikeliest survivor.”

In addition to drug addictions that ultimately led to a transplant to replace a liver worn out by decades of excess, his tumultuous life included a serious motorcycle accident, the death of a girlfriend, and battles against hepatitis C and diabetes.

US musicians David Crosby (R) and Graham Nash (L) perform at a benefit concert in Tucson, USA, on 10 March 2011, to honor those in the wake of the shooting, which killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Democratic US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, on 08 January 2011. . EPA/GARY WILLIAMS

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