How Did Rick Danko, a Groundbreaker With the Band, Die?

Rick Danko, a founding member of the legendary rock group The Band, left an indelible mark on the music industry with his soulful voice and exceptional bass playing. While his contributions to The Band's success are widely celebrated, Danko's life was tragically cut short.

This article explores the circumstances surrounding Rick Danko's untimely death and the impact it had on the music community.

Who was Rick Danko?

Richard Clare Danko, born on December 29, 1943, was a Canadian musician, bassist, songwriter, and singer, best known as a founding member of The Band, for which he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

How did Rick Danko Die?

Danko played with the Hawks in the 1960s, backing Ronnie Hawkins and then Bob Dylan. Then, between 1968 and 1977, Danko and the Hawks, now known as The Band, recorded seven studio albums before splitting up.

Danko took part in the band's partial reunion, beginning with their rebirth in 1983 and continuing until his death.

How did Rick Danko Die?

Danko died of heart failure in his sleep at his home in Marbletown, New York, on December 10, 1999, just days after wrapping up a brief tour of the Midwest that included two gigs in the Chicago region and a last performance at the Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was 55.

Danko's battle with addiction, combined with the demands of the music industry, hurt his health. Despite these problems, he continued to play with the band and work on solo projects, demonstrating his everlasting commitment to his profession.

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He was survived by his second wife, Elizabeth (died 2013), whom he married in 1989; a stepson, Justin; and a daughter, Lisa, from his previous marriage. 

Danko's first son, Eli, died of asphyxiation after excessive drinking at the State University of New York in Albany in 1989, when he was 18 years old. Danko was buried next to Eli in Woodstock Cemetery in Woodstock, New York.

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