Grateful Dead Keyboardist Commits Suicide

The Sonoma County, Calif., Sheriff’s Department has confirmed that the death of Grateful Dead keyboardist Vince Welnick, 55, was a suicide. He is survived by his wife, Lori. On Friday (June 2), Welnick was rushed to a local hospital for injuries to which he later succumbed.

After playing with the Tubes and for Todd Rundgren, Welnick took over on keys when then-keyboardist Brent Mydland died of a drug overdose in 1990. Before Mydland, two other keyboard players for the Dead have died young — “Pigpen” McKernan at age 27, Keith Godchaux at age 32 — prompting some to consider the position a cursed one.

Here’s what the people are saying:

“Vince Welnick is gone. He was the sweetest human I have ever known. Kind, generous, funny and warm hearted. He was my friend. He was talented, so fucking talented.” mikelawson, vincewelnick.com

“Vince was an integral part of the Grateful Dead’s survival after the loss of Brent. He was a kind, talented musician and will be sorely missed.” — arareanddifferenttune, vincewelnick.com

“He was a good soul, a very sweet guy. He was also an exceptionally competent keyboardist.” — Dead spokesman Dennis McNally, San Francisco Chronicle

“He had this real high harmony. He could go where others couldn’t.” — Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart, New York Times

Talk: Are Grateful Dead keyboard players cursed? COMMENT

On the Web: vincewelnick.com

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