Marijuana Policy Project

Pop and Rock Star Deaths in 2016

More Musicians and Industry Figures Who've Passed Away in 2016

Doug Evans - Dec. 28; Didjits and Blower's bassist; suffered from liver disease; was 53. 

Alfonso Mouzon - Dec. 25; jazz fusion drummer, played with Weather Report and Eleventh House; had neuroendocrine cacer, died form cardia arrest; was 68.

DJ Jinx Paul (Jean Paul Guererro) - Dec. 19; New York Spanish radio personality killed in hit-and-run; was 39.

Herbert Hardesty - Dec. 3; sax player with Fats Domino; had stage 4 lymphoma; was 91.

Don Waller - Nov. 17; music journalist and member of the L.A. punk band the Imperial Dogs; had lung cancer; was 65.

Holly Dunn - Nov. 15; country singer; had ovarian cancer; was 59.

Ed Harsch - Nov. 4; Black Crowes' keyboardist; was 59.

Kay Starr - Nov. 3; jazz-country singer; was 94.

Phil Chess - Oct. 18; co-founder of Chess Records; was 95.

Don Ciccone - Oct. 8; lead singer of the Critters ("Mr. Dieingly Sad," No. 17, 1966); was 70.

Joan Marie Johnson - Oct. 3; member of the Dixie Cups; had congestive heart failure; was 72.

Oscar Brand - Sept. 30; folk singer; succumbed to pneumonia; was 96.

Shawty Lo (Carlos Walker) – Sept. 21; Atlanta rapper formerly with D4L; car accident; was 40.

Nora York – Sept. 3; jazz/rock singer; suffered from pancreatic cancer; was 60.

Jerry Heller – Sept. 2; NWA's manager; suffered heart attack; was 75.

Fred Hellerman - Sept. 1; singer/guitarist with the Weavers; was 89.

Kacey JonesSept. 1; country singer/comedian; suffered from cancer; was 66.

Toots Thielesman Aug. 24; jazz harmonica player; was 94.

Juan Gabriel - Aug. 21; Mexican pop singer; suffered a heart attack; was 66.

Hedley Bennett – Aug. 21; played sax with Bob Marley; was 85.

Ricci Martin – Aug. 3; son of Dean Martin; form member of Dino, Desi and Billy; was 62.

Alan Vega (nee Alan Bermowitz) – July 16; lead singer/guitarist of the punk band Suicide; died in his sleep; was 78.

Ralph Stanley - June 24; bluegrass legend who performed with the Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys on banjo; suffered from skin cancer; was 89.

Christina Grimmie - June 10; The Voice contender murderd by male gunman after concert in Orlando; was 22. 

Mike Barnett - May 27; co-founded the Letterman in 1959; died from heart failure; was 89.

John Berry - May 19; Beasties Boys' original guitarist; suffered from dementia; was 52.

Julius La Rosa – May 12; Italian-American crooner who hosted his onw TV show in the '50s; was 86.

Candye Kane (Candace Hogan) – May 6; punk singer and porn actress; suffered from pancreatic cancer; was 54.

Papa Wemba (Jules Kikumba) – Apr. 24; Congolese singer; collapsed on stage, cause of death not disclosed; was 66.

Richard Lyons – Apr. 19; founded Negativeland; suffered from melanoma; was 57.

Tony Conrad - Apr. 9; collaborated with Faust on Outside the Dream Syndicate; died from prostate cancer; was 76.

Dennis Davis - Apr. 6; was David Bowie's drummer; died from cancer; was 63.

Jimmie Van Sant - Apr. 2; Southern rocker related to Ronnie, Johnny and Donnie Van Sant; had liver cancer; was 59.

Joe Skyward - Mar. 26; Posies and Sunny Day Real Estate bassist; had cancer; was 57.

Steve Young - Mar. 17; Nashville-based singer-songwriter; was 73.

Frank Sinatra Jr. - Mar. 16; suffered a heart attack; was 72

Tom Spanic - Mar. 15; guitarist with the Spanic Boys; was 69.

George Martin – Mar. 8; the Bealtes' producer; was 90.

Joey Martin Feek – Mar. 4; half of country duo Joey+Rory; had cervical cancer; was 40.

Rusty Burns - Feb. 19; Texas -born guitarist, played with Point Blank and other band; had lung cancer; was 63. 

Joey Floyd - Feb. 14; guitarist, fiddler and banjo player in Toby Keith's Easy Money Band; played Willie Nelson's son in Honeysuckle Rose; had cancer 

Jon Bunch - Feb. 1; lead singer with Sense Field and Further Seems Forever; was 45.

Signe Anderson - Jan. 28; original female singer in Jefferson Airplane; was 74.

Colin Vearncombe (aka Black) - Jan. 26; British singer known for "Wonderful Life"; died in a car crash, was 53

Jimmy Bain - Jan. 23; Dio and Rainbow drummer; was 68.

Kevin Junior - Jan. 18; Chamber Strings frontman; was 46.

Jason Mackenroth - Jan 17; Rolliing Band and Blue Man Group drummer; suffered from prostate cancer; was 46.

Giorgio Gomelsky - Jan. 13;  former manager of the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds; suffered from cancer; was 82

John Berry - Jan. 9; guitarist with indie rock band Idaho.

Brett Smiley – Jan. 7; American-born glam rocker; was 60.

Craig Strickland – Jan. 4; country singer (died in a hunting accident, his body was found on Jan. 4); was 29.

Jean-Michel Delpech – Jan. 2; French singer-songwriter, suffered from throat cancer.

By our count, 92 musicians or music industry figures passed away in 2016, up from 62 in 2015 (a 33% increase). 

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.