Don Everly death: Everly Brothers singer once attempted suicide

Don Everly, 84, died seven years after his estranged brother and former half of the country-rock duo's Phil Everly's death


                            Don Everly death: Everly Brothers singer once attempted suicide
Rock and roll duo The Everly Brothers, Don and Phil Everly, circa 1960 (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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Seven years after country-rock duo The Everly Brothers ' one half - Phil's death, the other half - Don Everly died has died. The rocker was 84 at the time of his death and in his home in Nashville. The news was announced through a statement from his family that did not quite address the cause of his death. Spokespersons for the family had also confirmed the news before the statement arrived, which revealed: “Don lived by what he felt in his heart. Don expressed his appreciation for the ability to live his dreams ... with his soulmate and wife, Adela, and sharing the music that made him an Everly Brother.”

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Don's death comes just a month after Metal Church fans were left devastated by the death of Mike Howe at age 55. Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison also passed away last month at the young age of 46. Dominican legend Johnny Ventura also died less than a month ago reportedly from a heart attack. And while Don's cause of death is unknown, just seven years ago the family was met with a tragedy when Phil Everly died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which his widow Patti blamed on his smoking habit. It is unclear whether Don was suffering from something at the time of his death but years ago the rocker did battle a serious Ritalin addiction that drove him to attempt suicide before he was able to finally overcome it.

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Everly brothers

Before they were the Everly Brothers, the dup sang as part of the Everly family, a 1940s act with their parents Ike and Margaret Everly. "Country’s not the right word for what he played," Don had told Rolling Stone about his father's music, explaining: "It was more uptown, more honky-tonk. I’ll tell you the right word for it: blues. White blues." The duo began their careers in the Nashville country music scene, and it was only after a long time that they released their first big hit, 'Bye Bye Love' in 1957. The track became number one on country charts and even number two on the pop charts. 

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After stellar hits in the 60s like 'Wake Up Little Susie', 'Cathy's Clown' and '(Til) I Kissed You' - the last two being Don's own specialty, their career was briefly stalled with both the brothers' stint in the marines. This, unfortunately, propelled a Ritalin addiction in Don after he got involved with the infamous Dr. Max Johnson aka Dr. Feelgood, who was known for administering 'vitamin shots' to an all-star clientele including then-president John F Kennedy. 

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Popular musical duo Phil and Don Everly recording at the Warner Brothers studio in Hollywood, 1963. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Don's Ritalin addiction

Don said to Rolling Stone decades later: "People didn’t understand drugs that well then. They didn’t know what they were messing with. It wasn’t against the law: I saw a picture of my doctor with the president, you know? But it got out of hand, naturally. It was a real disaster for a lot of people, and it was a disaster for me. Ritalin made you feel energized. You could stay up for days. It just got me strung out. I got so far out there, I didn’t know what I was doing." 

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The addiction ultimately led to a breakdown and a suicide attempt after which Don was institutionalized and put on electroconvulsive therapy. "They say shock therapy is good for some things, but it didn’t do me any good. It was a pretty primitive treatment at the time - once they gave it to you, you couldn’t remember how long you’d been there," he told the publication, adding: "It knocked me back for a long time. I thought I’d never write again." Don was reportedly able to conquer the Ritalin addiction in the mid-60s.

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Musical artists Don and Phil Everly of The Everly Brothers support Simon and Garfunkel's second of two UK gigs, the first for 20 years, on July 15, 2004 in Hyde Park, London.

Don and Phil's souring relationship

Unfortunately, the break didn't work out well for the band in the long run. With Don attempting a failed solo career, when he and Phill reunited for a California concert in the '70s, it ended up resulting in an onstage outburst from Phil, who smashed his guitar on the stage and left brother Don to close the two-day event marking their reunion. Since then the brothers rarely talked or were seen around each other, barring their father's funeral. Their feud simmered onstage in 1983 with a show at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Later they also did a guest appearance during a 2003 Simon and Garfunkel tour in London, but their relationship reportedly soured again later in their lives.

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Don, who had married Sue Ingraham in 1957, and later Venetia Stevenson in 1962, married his third wife Adela Garza in 1997. He is also survived by his 101-year-old mother Margaret, who also lives in Nashville, and four children - Erin, Stacy, Venetia, and Edan.