Grateful Dead collaborator and lyricist Robert Hunter dies at 78
The cause of his death is currently unknown but Hunter's family said in a statement that he died peacefully in bed.
Robert Hunter, a poet and writer best known for collaborating with the eclectic rock band the Grateful Dead on many of their most vivid and enduring songs, passed away on Monday night at the age of 78. The cause of his death is currently unknown but Hunter's family said in a statement that he died peacefully in bed.
“It is with great sadness we confirm our beloved Robert passed away yesterday night,” Hunter’s family announced in a statement, as reported by Rolling Stone. “He died peacefully at home in his bed, surrounded by love. His wife Maureen was by his side holding his hand. For his fans that have loved and supported him all these years, take comfort in knowing that his words are all around us, and in that way his is never truly gone. In this time of grief please celebrate him the way you all know how, by being together and listening to the music. Let there be songs to fill the air.”
Hunter is survived by his wife Maureen, whom he married in 1982. Though he recorded several solo albums and occasionally went on tour he never showed much interest in performing and mostly just did it to pay the bills. Even his last solo tour in 2013 only happened because he had had a spinal abscess and, by his own admission, was forced to hit the road to help pay for treatment.
Born Robert Burns in California in 1941, Hunter first met Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia in 1961. Though Garcia asked Hunter to play with him then, Hunter instead chose to pursue a future as a writer. Hunter took part in early LSD experiments at Stanford and dabbled a little in Scientology. Eventually, he sent several lyrics to the Grateful Dead in San Francisco and moved to the Bay Area, reuniting with his old friend Garcia. He soon became the band's resident lyricist and as much of a rock legend as any guitarist or singer.