R.I.P. Big Wreck Guitarist Brian Doherty

The band co-founder lost his battle to cancer at age 51

BY Brock ThiessenPublished Jun 6, 2019

Brian Doherty — Big Wreck co-founder and guitarist — has died. Today the band revealed he lost his battle with cancer last night (June 5). Doherty was 51.

In a joint statement, Big Wreck wrote the following:

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that our brother, Brian Doherty, passed away peacefully yesterday after a prolonged and brave struggle with cancer.  Brian started Big Wreck with Ian in their dorm in Boston and his passing is a profound loss to us all.  Our deepest condolences go out to Brian's family.  He was a good soul who will be missed by all who knew him personally or through the beautiful music he performed.

Doherty's friend James Bukowiec had set up a GoFundMe campaign to help lessen the musician's financial burden as he struggled with his illness. It had a goal of $25,000 but it exceeded that.

Following the news of Doherty's passing, Bukowiec wrote, "I am sad to announce that Brian passed away at 11:30 last night June 5th 2019. Your donations and comments touched his heart and lifted his spirits. Your care for him and his family brought him an appreciation and a peace in his last days. Your donations will make a difference. 

"He is in a better place. No more pain. No more struggle. Just pure joy, face to face with Our Lord Jesus, creator and lover of his soul. Thank you all again."

Big Wreck was formed in 1994 by Ian Thornley in Boston, where he started the band alongside Doherty, Dave Henning and Forrest Williams. Following a pair of albums and multiple radio hits, the group disbanded in 2002.

In 2010, however, Thornley and Doherty reunited for a cross-Canada reunion tour. In 2012, Big Wreck then released their comeback album Albatross, which was later followed by 2014's Ghosts and 2017's Grace Street.

Doherty's family will receive friends at the D.J. Robb Funeral Home at 102 North Victoria St. in Sarnia-Lambton, ON, on Saturday (June 7) from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Tour Dates

Latest Coverage