David Crosby, founding member of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, dead at 81

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David Crosby, a founding member of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, has died. The singer/songwriter and guitarist was 81.

Crosby’s representative confirmed the musician’s passing to Fox News Digital. The rep also shared a statement from Crosby’s bandmate, Stephen Stills.

“I read a quote in this morning’s paper attributed to compose Gustav Mahler that stopped me for a moment: ‘Death has, on placid cat’s paws, entered the room.’ I shoulda known something was up,” Stills said.

“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. 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.”

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David Crosby, founding member of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, dead at 81

Stephen Stills (left) and David Crosby of Crosby, Stills & Nash performed on stage at the Woodstock Music and Art Festival in 1969.
(Fotos International/Getty Images)

Melissa Etheridge, who had a baby with Crosby via sperm donation, took to social media Thursday to honor her fellow musician. 

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“I am grieving the loss of my friend and Bailey’s biological father, David. He gave me the gift of family. I will forever be grateful to him, Django, and Jan. His music and legacy will inspire many generations to come. A true treasure,” Etheridge wrote on Instagram, alongside an image of the pair.

 

 
 

 
 
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Crosby’s wife, Jan Dance, shared a statement with Variety on Thursday, confirming his death:

“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. Peace, love and harmony to all who knew David and those he touched. We will miss him dearly. At this time, we respectfully and kindly ask for privacy as we grieve and try to deal with our profound loss. Thank you for the love and prayers.”

David Crosby, founding member of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, dead at 81

Legendary musician David Crosby died Thursday at the age of 81.
(Scott Dudelson)

Crosby’s bandmate, Graham Nash, also spoke out following Crosby’s death. 

“It is with profound sadness that I learned that my friend David Crosby has passed,” Nash told Fox News Digital 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, 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. He leaves behind a tremendous void as far as sheer personality and talent in this world. He spoke his mind, his heart and his passion through his beautiful music and leaves an incredible legacy. These are the things that matter most. My heart is truly with his wife, Jan, his son, Django, and all of the people he has touched in this world.”

David Crosby, founding member of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, dead at 81

The Byrds in Soho, London, 1966. L-R David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, Michael Clarke, Chris Hillman and Gene Clark.
(Mark and Colleen Hayward)

Crosby was first inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 as a member of The Byrds. He was inducted a second time in 1997 as a member of Crosby, Stills & Nash.

In the late ’60s, Crosby co-founded the rock super group Crosby, Stills & Nash. The group initially consisted of Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. 

David Crosby, founding member of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, dead at 81

David Crosby is survived by his wife, Jan Dance, and his five children.
(Frazer Harrison)

The band later added Neil Young, and they became known as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

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While he only wrote a handful of widely known songs, the witty and ever opinionated Crosby was on the front lines of the cultural revolution of the ’60s and ’70s, whether triumphing with Stills, Nash and Young on stage at Woodstock, testifying on behalf of a hirsute generation in his anthem “Almost Cut My Hair” or mourning the assassination of Robert Kennedy in “Long Time Gone.”

David Crosby, founding member of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, dead at 81

David Crosby and Jan Dance wed in 1987.
(David Crotty/Patrick McMullan)

Crosby underwent a liver transplant in 1994 after decades of drug use and survived diabetes, hepatitis C and heart surgery in his 70s. In 1987, Crosby married Jan Dance.

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Crosby is survived by his five children. A son, whom he shared via sperm donation with Etheridge, Beckett Cypher, died after an opioid addiction in 2020 at the age of 21.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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