Grateful Dead keyboard player Vince Welnick has died. He was 55.
Welnick took over as the cult band’s keyboard player in 1990 and continued until the band retired from performing following the death of founder and frontman Jerry Garcia in 1995.
“Vince passed from this earth on 2 June 2006… after a decade of battling tragedy while creating beauty and light around him,” a statement on Welnick’s website said.
No cause of death was given on the website.
However, local newspaper Mercury News, which covers the San Francisco Bay Area near where Welnick lived, has claimed it was suicide. They report that the musician was taken, injured, from his home to a local hospital where he died.
Welnick is the fourth keyboard player from the Grateful Dead to have died. Founding vocalist and keyboard player Ron ‘Pigpen’ McKernan, a heavy drinker, died of liver failure in 1973. Then, Keith Godchaux died in a car accident in 1980 and Brent Mydland died in 1990 of a drug overdose.