Captain Beefheart dies aged 69

Singer, songwriter and visual artist passes away after complications from multiple sclerosis

Captain Beefheart has died at the age of 69.

The singer, songwriter and visual artist – whose real name was Don Van Vliet – passed away earlier today (December 17) in hospital in California.

Van Vliet died after complications from multiple sclerosis, reports


A representative at New York City‘s Michael Werner Gallery, where Van Vliet‘s artwork was being displayed, confirmed the news.

As a musician he recorded with a number of rotating artists under the name Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band. His 1969 album ‘Trout Mask Replica’, which was produced by Frank Zappa, was arguably his most critically acclaimed.

His last album was 1982’s ‘Ice Cream For Crow’ and, following his retirement from music, Van Vliet concentrated on his work as a visual artist.

Photo gallery – Captain Beefheart remembered

Captain Beefheart RIP – share your memories