Jack Sonni, an American guitarist for British rock band Dire Straits, has died at the age of 68.
Dire Straits announced the news on Twitter yesterday (August 31), writing, “Jack Sonni Rest In Peace” alongside a photo of the musician. A cause of death has not been revealed.
Sonni was affectionately referred to as the “other guitar player in Dire Straits” after joining the band in 1984 towards the end of their first active era (1977-1988).
He played guitar and guitar synthesiser on the band’s most commercially successful album, 1985’s ‘Brothers In Arms’. After working with Dire Straits, the Pennsylvania born artist contributed to other musicians’ projects but ended his professional music career in 1988.
Sonni met Dire Straits brothers Mark and David Knopfler in 1978 while working in a Manhattan music shop and later travelled to London to visit their home.
— Dire Straits 🎸 (@DireStraits77) August 31, 2023
After leaving Dire Straits, Sonni continued to play music and returned to the band that he formed in the late ’70s called The Leisure Class.
He also appeared regularly with other former members of Dire Straits in the Dire Straits Legacy project.
The musician’s website described him as “a writer, musician, nomadic raconteur, father and grandfather who has taken to heart the reality of the hard-learned lesson that life is short”.
It added: “He has embraced a philosophy to live well and live now in pursuit of creating memorable moments with friends and family.
“And he is one who knows the supreme importance of hugging them while you can… because tomorrow never knows.”
See tributes to the late musician below.
Awful to hear of the passing of Jack Sonni. An integral part of one of my most formative bands of all time. Clearly a total dude. Go well xx https://t.co/zjhlu5YP4A
— Shaun Keaveny 💙 (@shaunwkeaveny) August 31, 2023
Jack embraced a philosophy to Live Well and Live Now in pursuit of creating memorable moments with friends and family. And he was one who knows the supreme importance of hugging them while you can…because Tomorrow Never Knows.
Rest in Peace Jack Sonni pic.twitter.com/2tpiWMKbm7
— mon_knopfler (@MKGuitars) August 31, 2023
Dejó su huella, estilo y personalidad en su etapa con dIRE sTRAITS. Descansa en paz, tu guitarra nunca dejará de sonar!
— bROTHERS iN bAND (@bROTHERSiNbAND2) August 31, 2023
So sorry to hear that Jack Sonni has passed away,with me being a massive fan of Dire Straits I was fortunate enough to see him live twice during the Brothers in Arms Tour . He made his red coat iconic in live aid .I spoke to him on more than one occasion ,lovely guy. R.I.P Jack. pic.twitter.com/FOhFAC0Ulc
— Maxus (@JgSzymon) August 30, 2023
— ⚡ Steve Hughes ⚡ (@Stevehughes1000) August 31, 2023
One of the world's great, largely unsung, rhythm guitarists.
Mark Knopfler's lead work is of course legendary. But underpinning much of that amazing Brothers in Arms era was Sonni's rhythm guitar that allowed Knopfler to shine (especially live)https://t.co/kSYJlDVlvs
— Jerome Taylor (@JeromeTaylor) September 1, 2023