David Crosby, one of the most influential rock singers of the 1960s and ’70s with the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, 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,” Variety quoted his wife, Jan Dance, as saying in a statement on Thursday.

“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.”

Crosby had been active on Twitter up until a few days ago, fans were shocked by the news of his death.

Crosby was a founding member of two revered rock bands – the country and folk-influenced Byrds, for whom he co-wrote the hit Eight Miles High, and CSNY, who defined the smooth side of the Woodstock generation’s music.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of both groups.

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.

Personally, Crosby was the embodiment of the credo “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll”.

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.

“I’m concerned that the time I’ve got here is so short, and I’m pissed at myself, deeply, for the 10 years – at least – of time that I wasted just getting smashed,” Crosby told the Los Angeles Times in July 2019.

“I’m ashamed of that.”

He fell “as low as a human being can go”, Crosby told the Times.

He also managed to alienate many of his famous former band mates for which he often expressed remorse in recent years.

His drug habits and often abrasive personality contributed to the demise of CSNY and the members eventually quit speaking to each other.

In the 2019 documentary David Crosby: Remember My Name, he made clear he hoped they could work together again but conceded the others “really dislike me, strongly”.

Crosby fathered six children – two as a sperm donor to rocker Melissa Etheridge’s partner and another who was placed for adoption at birth and did not meet Crosby until he was in his 30s.

That son, James Raymond, would eventually become his musical collaborator.

Looking back at the turbulent 1960s and his life, Crosby told Time magazine in 2006: “We were right about civil rights; we were right about human rights; we were right about peace being better than war … But I think we didn’t know our butt from a hole in the ground about drugs and that bit us pretty hard.”

Crosby was born on August 14, 1941, in Los Angeles.

His father was a cinematographer who won a Golden Globe for High Noon in 1952 and his mother exposed him to the folk group the Weavers and to classical music.


Graham Nash, David Crosby and Neil Young of Cosby Stills Nash and Young perform in 1969.


Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and David Crosby during the 40th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Ceremony in 2009.