Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall of Fame
Robert Hunter, best known as a lyricist for The Grateful Dead, died Monday at the age of 78, Rolling Stone reports.
Rolling Stone cites a family statement saying that Hunter “died peacefully at home in his bed, surrounded by love. His wife, Maureen, was by his side holding his hand.”
“For his fans that have loved and supported him all these years, take comfort in knowing that his words are all around us, and in that way his is never truly gone,” the statement continues. “In this time of grief please celebrate him the way you all know how, by being together and listening to the music. Let there be songs to fill the air.”
A poet and writer as well as a lyricist, Hunter contributed to such classic Dead tunes as “Dark Star,” “Truckin’,” “Uncle John’s Band,” “Friend of the Devil,” “Sugar Magnolia,” “Box of Rain,” “Ripple” and “Touch of Grey.”
Hunter met Jerry Garcia in 1961 when Garcia asked him to join him in his jug band, but Hunter passed. After attending Stanford, where he took part in LSD experiments, he moved to the Southwest and struggled with drug issues before returning to San Francisco.
According to Rolling Stone, Hunter was present when the Dead were writing the song that became “Dark Star,” and started writing lyrics for the tune, marking his first collaboration.
After Garcia passed away, Hunter wrote songs with Elvis Costello, Bruce Hornsby, Americana singer Jim Lauderdale and, most notably, Bob Dylan, starting with Dylan’s 1988 album Down in the Groove. He also toured as a solo artist.
Hunter told Rolling Stone that his favorite line he’d written is in “Ripple”: “Let it be known there is a fountain that was not made by the hands of men.”
In 1994, Hunter was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Grateful Dead.
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