David Crosby, veteran musician, has died aged 81 after a long illness. The legendary artist was part of the original lineup of the Byrds and appeared on their first five albums, including the 1965 hit cover of Bob Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man.

“It is with great sadness after a long illness, that our beloved David (Croz) Crosby has passed away,” his wife Jan Dance said, reported Variety.

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Who was David Crosby?

David Crosby was a singer, guitarist, and songwriter. Apart from his solo career, he was a founding member of both the Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Crosby was born on August 14, 1941, in Los Angeles, California. He was the second son of Academy Award-winning cinematographer Floyd Crosby. He was the younger brother of musician, Ethan Crosby.

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He attended several schools in California including the University Elementary School in Los Angeles, the Crane Country Day School in Montecito, and Laguna Blanca School in Santa Barbara for the rest of his elementary school and junior high.

Crosby studied drama at Santa Barbara City College before dropping out to pursue a career in music. He performed with singer Terry Callier in Chicago and Greenwich Village, but they failed to obtain a recording contract.

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He recorded his first solo session in 1963, under the guidance of famed record producer and band manager Jim Dickson. In 1964, he founded his own band, the Jet Set, along with Jim McGuinn and Gene Clark. In 1965, the Byrds rechristened themselves as the Byrds and had massive success with Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man”.

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Despite their fame and glory, the Byrds broke up due to creative differences in 1967. Crosby then started jamming with ex-Buffalo Springfield guitarist, Stephen Stills. They were soon joined by former Hollies member, Graham Nash. The supergroup’s eponymous debut album, Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1969, was a sudden success. It scored two Top 40 hit singles, Marrakesh Express and Suite: Judy Blue Eyes. They established themselves as one of the leading live bands and quintessential leaders of significant musical and cultural impact.

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In 1962, he had a son with Celia Crawford Ferguson, James Raymond. In May 1987, he married Jan Dance at the Hollywood Church of Religious Science in Los Angeles. He had three other children, Erika with Jackie Guthrie, Donovan Crosby with former girlfriend Debbie Donovan, and a son Django Crosby with his wife Jan Dance.

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Crosby had won numerous awards and accolades in his career. In 1969, he won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist for Crosby, Stills, and Nash. He achieved the rare feat of being inducted into the revered Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice.