Former Grateful Dead
star Vince Welnick
has died - the band's fourth keyboardist to pass away. He was 55.
Welnick, who also played for The Tubes
and Missing Man Formation
, died on Friday, although his longtime publicist Dennis Mcnally has yet to confirm the cause.
Welnick succeeded late Grateful Dead keyboardist Brent Mydland
, who died of a drug overdose in 1990. Before Mydland the position had been filled by Keith Godchaux, who died in a car crash shortly after leaving the band, and original keyboard player, Ron 'Pigpen' McKernan, who died at 27 in 1973 of a gastrointestinal haemorrhage.
Welnick set up his own group, Missing Man Formation, after the Grateful Dead split in 2003 and shunned any reunions with the surviving members, who were famed for their explosive live shows.
However, lead guitarist Jerry Garcia
's death in 1995 is said to have devastated Welnick.
The band have remembered the keyboardist in a statement on their website, saying, "His service to and love for the Grateful Dead were heartfelt and essential. He had a loving soul and a joy in music that we were lucky to share.
"Our Grateful Dead prayer for the repose of his spirit: May the four winds blow him safely home
Editor's note: Several reports say that Welnick's death was a suicide; however there has been nothing to confirm this.
(This news article provided by World Entertainment News Network)