Fleetwood Mac Guitarist Danny Kirwan Is Dead at 68

Danny Kirwan dead at 68, on album cover

Danny Kirwan is no longer with us. The former Fleetwood Mac guitarist passed away on Friday, as it was announced by the band on its social media accounts. He died in London at the age of 68. It's not yet clear what caused his departure from this world. While Danny Kirwan didn't have quite the same length of stay inside the band as a few of its other iconic members, his presence and impact was nevertheless undeniable to Fleetwood Mac's incredible legacy, and he'll certainly be missed by music lovers everywhere. Here's the statement Mick Fleetwood released on Fleetwood Mac's Facebook account, announcing the musician's passing and remembering Kirwan's lasting impact on the band's 40-plus year signature sound.

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. 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. Thank you, Danny Kirwan. You will forever be missed!

As drummer Mick Fleetwood notes in his social media address, Danny Kirwan played a major role in Fleetwood Mac's early sound. The late guitarist was featured on five different albums, starting with the third studio album, 1969's Then Play On, and playing a part in the four subsequent studio offerings, 1970's Kin House, 1971's Future Games and 1972's Bare Trees, as well as 1969's compilation album, Blue Jam at Chess, which is also known as Fleetwood Mac in Chicago. Kirwan's first contribution to the band was working on the tune "Albatross" with Peter Green. Subsequently, Kirwan played a major role in the band for four solid years, though unfortunately it wasn't meant to last. Kirwan was excused in 1972.

While Danny Kirwan said he played well with Fleetwood Mac, the guitarist admits that he didn't always get along with the group when they weren't gathered around making some tunes. Kirwan was unfortunately known for his short temper during the recording process. Initially, it was Peter Green who left the band. But Danny Kirwan grew more estranged with Fleetwood Mac, and was also dealing with alcoholism during that period. Danny was let go from the band due to his bad behavior, and while he was initially a bit disgruntled about being let go, Danny Kirwan eventually made peace with his replacement, Bob Weston. Weston contributed to Kirwan's solo album, Hello There Big Boy!, which came out in 1979.

Danny Kirwan's death is not the first passing for Fleetwood Mac. Former guitarist Bob Welch also passed away at 66, six years ago.

Beyond this sad passing, Fleetwood Mac recently departed from one of their most beloved members, Lindsay Buckingham, earlier this year. The group is currently preparing for its latest tour, and Lindsay Buckingham will be replaced by Neil Finn and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' Mike Campbell. Addressing his termination, Buckingham claimed the group "lost their perspective," though he didn't cast blame onto Stevie Nicks. Mick Fleetwood has also addressed the situation on two different occasions, although the band has spent this time focusing on their upcoming tour, which begins in Tulsa, OK on October 3rd.

There are lots of changes coming for the band, but for now, our thoughts go out to Danny Kirwan's family and friends.

Will Ashton

Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.