David Crosby, the American rocker and co-founder of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash&Young, passed away on Thursday at the age of 81, according to an announcement made by Variety. The musician, who left an indelible mark on rock and folk music in the 1960s and 70s, had been battling a "long illness" before his death, surrounded by his family.
"His legacy will continue to live on through his legendary music," Jan Dance, his wife, said in a statement.
Crosby's death was met with an outpouring of grief and remembrance from his former bandmates and colleagues in the music industry.
Graham Nash, who had a "volatile" but ultimately close relationship with Crosby, shared his "profound sadness" at the loss of his friend and collaborator. "David was fearless in life and in music," Nash wrote. "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." Stephen Stills, another of Crosby's former bandmates, also reflected on their tumultuous but meaningful partnership in music.
"David and I butted heads a lot over time, but they were mostly glancing blows, yet still left us numb skulls," Stills wrote in a series of tweets. "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."
Early Life and Career
Crosby was born in California on August 14, 1941. His parents were descendants of famous New York families, and his father was a film worker who won the Oscar for Best Photography.
By the time he was 25, Crosby had already founded the band The Byrds, which combined elements of English rock and traditional American folk. Crosby is survived by his wife Jan Dance, their son Django, son James Raymond, and two daughters, Erika and Donovan, from previous relationships.