Jefferson Airplane guitarist Marty Balin dead at 76
Jefferson Airplane star Marty Balin has died, aged 76.
The guitarist, who co-founded the psychedelic rock band in 1965, passed away on Thursday.
The sad news was confirmed by his wife Susan in a statement on Friday.
“Marty and I shared the deepest of love – he often called it Nirvana – and it was,” she wrote. “But really, we were all touched by his love. His presence will be within my entire being forever.”
Born Martyn Jerel Buchwald, Balin was a San Francisco folk artist when he formed a band with Paul Kantner, guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, bassist Jack Casady, drummer Slip Spence and singer Signe Toly Anderson.
Calling themselves Jefferson Airplane, they released a debut album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, in 1966 and quickly became one of the most important bands to come out of the San Francisco hippie scene.
Anderson left the group in 1967 and was replaced by Grace Slick. Balin quit a year later.
After a spell in management, he rejoined Kantner and Slick in 1974, but his return lasted for only four years before he opted for a solo career. In 1989, he participated in the short-lived Jefferson Airplane reunion tour and returned four years later to the renamed Jefferson Starship, finally leaving for good in 2008.
In 2016, Balin underwent open-heart surgery in New York City and later sued bosses at Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital for medical malpractice, claiming medics left him with kidney damage and the loss of his left thumb, among other things.
In legal papers, the musician detailed how his wife, Susan, had complained to staff about the quality of care provided.
“The branch was closing up, and they were supposed to have special nurses and special doctors to help the serious patients to get the rehab they needed and to monitor them,” lawyer David Jaroslawicz wrote. “It was a horror show… He has become totally disabled.”
He was demanding unspecified damages.