R.I.P. Fleetwood Mac Guitarist Danny Kirwan
Published Jun 11, 2018Danny Kirwan — best known as a guitarist for Fleetwood Mac in the band's early years — has died. The English group confirmed that Kirwan had passed last Friday (June 8), though no cause of death was announced. He was 68.
"Danny was a huge force in our early years. His love for the Blues led him to being asked to join Fleetwood Mac in 1968, where he made his musical home for many years," the group's Mick Fleetwood wrote in a statement. "Danny's true legacy, in my mind, will forever live on in the music he wrote and played so beautifully as a part of the foundation of Fleetwood Mac, that has now endured for over fifty years."
Kirwan joined Fleetwood Mac following the release of 1968's Mr. Wonderful, first appearing on their single "Albatross." Kirwan's guitar work can be heard on 1969 LP Then Play On, 1969 compilation Blues Jam at Chess, 1970's Kiln House, 1971's Future Games and 1972's Bare Trees.
Kirwan was fired from Fleetwood Mac while touring in support of Bare Trees during its year of release. He was subsequently replaced by Bob Weston. Kirwan embarked on a brief solo career shortly after his departure, releasing albums in 1975, 1976, 1979 and 2000.
After departing the music industry, the next few decades of Kirwan's life were marked by mental health struggles and homelessness. He told the Independent he had "been through a bit of a rough patch but I'm not too bad," in a rare 1993 interview, after Mick Fleetwood asked the Missing Persons Bureau to track him down.
"I get by and I suppose I am homeless, but then I've never really had a home since our early days on tour. I couldn't handle it all mentally and I had to get out. I can't settle," Kirwan told the publication. "I was lucky to have played for the band at all. I just started off following them around, but I could play the guitar a bit and Mick felt sorry for me and put me in. I did it for about four years, to about 1972, but...I couldn't handle the lifestyle and the women and the travelling."
Kirwan was among the eight members of Fleetwood Mac — in addition to Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Fleetwood, Peter Green, John McVie, Christine McVie and Jeremy Spencer — that were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, though he did not attend the induction ceremony.
Find Fleetwood and the group's statement below. The band (sans Lindsay Buckingham) are set to head out on tour this fall.