White died in his sleep after his heart stopped in the night, according to a statement to the media from Dean Bein, founder of Girls' label True Panther Records.
Former bandmate Christopher Owens confirmed White's passing last night (October 20), writing in a tweet, "I hope you feel nothing but peace now my brother. I love you, and thank you for believing in me, and for what you brought to the table. Always and Forever, and I'll always be proud of you… I'll always remember you protecting Liza, Patrick, myself and Beta from the jerks."
White was raised in Santa Cruz, where he spent his early years playing in local punk acts and hanging out in record stores. In 2007, White met Owens, and the two formed Girls, releasing their debut album, Album, in 2009.
The pair went on to release their sophomore LP titled Father, Son, Holy Ghost in 2011, as well as an EP titled Broken Dreams Club in 2010 before they officially disbanded in 2012. At the time, Owens announced his departure citing personal reasons and the band's constantly shifting tour lineup.
Since their breakup, White went on to produce records for Tobias Jesso Jr., Cass McCombs, DIIV and more.
Tributes to the late artist have been pouring in since news of his death surfaced. See a few of those, and listen to "Lust for Life" by Girls, below.
💔— Christopher David Owens (@Chri55yBaby) October 20, 2020
I hope you feel nothing but peace now my brother. I love you, and thank you for believing in me, and for what you brought to the table. Always and Forever, and I'll always be proud of you... I'll always remember you protecting Liza, Patrick, myself and Beta from the jerks
😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭— Christopher David Owens (@Chri55yBaby) October 20, 2020
💔 The Oh So Protective One 💔 Brother, artist, guardian, genius, friend. There are so many things I want to say to you. I know I never had to because we were always eye to eye. We're stuck together forever, I've realized that about life. And for the record, if it goes unsaid I'll say it now and every time: Music would never be the same without Chet JR White. And neither would I.
After spending three years of my life in a room with a guy who was basically my hero and partner in crime I ended up with The big brother I never knew I wanted and the best friend I never knew I needed... now it's the brother I'll never fight with again and the best friend I'll never stop hating myself for not being able to reach when he needed me... I'm so sorry big guy. I hated your guts and loved you more than I even knew I could... god bless you JR. you showed me how it's done, and I promise to keep doin it brother. X
Rest In Peace to my friend and bandmate, Chet JR White. An immensely talented musician and producer with the sharpest ear. Was Girls the best band of the late aughts? Most likely yes. I came in at the very end, for what turned out to be the final tours.. but those shows contained some of the most powerful moments I've ever felt on stage. Much respect & much love @1dislike - you will be missed 💔