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Mick Fleetwood announced former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Danny Kirwan has died at the age of 68. No cause of death was given.
Acknowledging Kirwan’s passing in a statement on the band’s Facebook page Friday evening, Fleetwood said, “Danny was a huge force in our early years. His love for the Blues led him to be asked to join Fleetwood Mac in 1968, where he made his musical home for many years.”
He further added,”Danny’s true legacy, in my mind, will forever live on in the music he wrote and played so beautifully as a part of the foundation of Fleetwood Mac, that has now endured for over fifty years. Thank you, Danny Kirwan. You will forever be missed!”
Kirwan was part of the iconic band from 1968-1972, playing on the albums “Then Play On,” ”Blues Jam at Chess,” ”Kiln House,” Future Games” and “Bare Trees.”
In early 1968, at the age of 17, the South London-born Kirwan, who had shown formidable skill in the London trio Boilerhouse, joined the original Mac lineup of Fleetwood, guitarists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer and bassist John McVie. He contributed guitar and vocal work in addition to songwriting. In its earliest incarnation, the group was a leading light of the English blues scene.
With time, Kirwan’s escalating alcoholism led to confrontations with the other members of the band, including an altercation with Welch, and Fleetwood, who had become the acting manager of the band, fired him in 1972.
He remained active briefly, recording unsuccessful three solo albums for the British label DJM in 1975-79. His recording career ended at that point. His alcoholism and severe mental health problems left him homeless for several years. He remained estranged from his former bandmates and failed to appear when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Fleetwood Mac in 1998.
In a 2015 story for the New York Observer, writer and musician Tim Sommer called Kirwan “one of the great lost figures in rock history (both literally and figuratively).”
Kirwan was among the eight members of the band — along with Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Peter Green, John McVie, Christine McVie and Jeremy Spencer — who was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.