The world of music has seen its share of triumphs and tragedies, and the untimely death of Brent Mydland, the talented keyboardist of the Grateful Dead, remains a somber chapter in the band's history.
Brent Mydland, the accomplished keyboardist and vocalist best known for his tenure with the Grateful Dead, passed away on July 26, 1990. His death marked the end of an era for the iconic band and left a void in the hearts of fans who had come to appreciate his distinctive musical contributions.
In this article, we delve into the details surrounding Brent Mydland's death and the impact it had on the legendary rock band.
Who was Brent Mydland?
Before delving into the circumstances of his death, it's essential to appreciate Brent Mydland's musical journey. Born on October 21, 1952, in Munich, Germany, Mydland joined the Grateful Dead in 1979, bringing his exceptional keyboard skills and vocal prowess to the iconic band.
Mydland began playing music in elementary school while growing up in Concord, California. He joined Bobby and the Midnites with Bob Weir and jazz veterans Billy Cobham and Alphonso Johnson after graduating, playing with some ensembles and recording one album with Silver.
This resulted in an invitation to join the Dead in 1979, taking the place of Keith Godchaux, who had opted to depart. Mydland immediately rose to prominence in the Dead, playing a range of keyboards, including the Hammond organ and different synthesizers, and regularly singing.
He contributed to numerous tracks on the band's studio albums that were released when he was a member.
How did Brent Mydland Die?
Brent Mydland died on July 26, 1990, at his home in Lafayette, California, shortly after finishing the Grateful Dead's summer tour. According to an autopsy by the Contra Costa Coroner's office, Mydland died from acute cocaine and morphine intoxication.
According to Contra Costa County Coroner Richard Rainey, “Toxicology tests reveal lethal levels of morphine and cocaine in the blood,” a combination “commonly referred to as a speedball.'”
He was the third Dead keyboardist to die (after founding members Ron “Pigpen” McKernan in 1973 and Keith Godchaux in 1980); Garcia described Mydland's death as “crushing,” and it marked the end of an era in the band's history.
Mydland is buried at Oakmont Memorial Park in Lafayette, California.