Christine McVie, singer and songwriter for Fleetwood Mac, dead at 79

Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac performs onstage during Fleetwood Mac In Concert at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 2019 in New York City.
Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac performs onstage during Fleetwood Mac In Concert at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 2019 in New York City.(Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)
  • Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie died on Wednesday, her family said.

  • The singer-songwriter was 79 years old and died "peacefully" after a "short illness," a statement said.

  • The musician's storied career spanned more than five decades.

Christine McVie, a singer, songwriter, and member of the legendary band Fleetwood Mac, died Wednesday.

She was 79 years old.

McVie died "peacefully" in the hospital following a "short illness," a statement from the family said. It added that she was surrounded by her family members when she passed.

"There are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine, McVie," a statement from Fleetwood Mac said. "She was truly one-of-a-kind, special, and talented beyond measure."

McVie's storied musical career spanned more than 50 years. A classically-trained pianist, McVie became known for her keyboard skills and background vocals in the late 1960s as part of the British blues band Chicken Shack. But it was in the 1970s, after she married Fleetwood Mac guitarist John McVie, and joined his band alongside Mick Fleetwood, that she cemented herself in rock-and-roll history.

McVie was an integral member of Fleetwood Mac's most famous lineup, which included John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, singer Stevie Nicks, and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. The group skyrocketed to success in 1975 after Nicks' and Buckingham's arrival, with the self-titled album "Fleetwood Mac," with included several of McVie's original songs, including "Over My Head" and "Say You Love Me."

The band's popularity only increased with 1976's "Rumours," which chronicled the highs and lows of two rocky relationships within the band — Nicks and Buckingham's as well as the married McVies.

McVie contributed several songs to "Rumours," including "You Make Loving Fun," "Don't Stop," and "Songbird," which was a frequent encore at Fleetwood Mac concerts throughout the years. But by the end of the "Rumours" tour, McVie and John McVie were divorced.

The ex-spouses continued to make music and tour together for years, however, with albums "Tusk," and "Tango in the Night." McVie retired from touring in the 1990s but continued to record music with members of the band.

She joined her former bandmates for the 1997 reunion album "The Dance," and performed for the group's 1998 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After a long hiatus, she rejoined Fleetwood Mac in 2014 and was a tour staple again in recent years.

Eight of her songs were included on Fleetwood Mac's "Greatest Hits" album in 1988.

"She was the best musician anyone could have in their band and the best friend anyone could have in their life. We were so lucky to have a life with her," the band said in a Wednesday statement. "Individually and together, we cherished Christine deeply and are thankful for the amazing memories we have. She will be so very missed."

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