Legendary Fleetwood Mac Singer-Songwriter Dies After ‘Short Illness,’ Family Confirms

·3 min read
Michael Kovac/Getty
Michael Kovac/Getty

Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriter Christine McVie, who wrote some of the band’s most iconic songs, died in a hospital on Wednesday morning following a “short illness,” her family said in a statement. She was 79.

McVie was an “incredible human being, and a revered musician who was loved universally,” the family’s statement said.

Her family did not disclose what her illness was, and she offered no hint of it in a round of interviews she did earlier this year to promote her new solo album, other than to say she was battling back issues due to scoliosis.

McVie, who was born Christine Perfect in the U.K. in 1943, started out playing as a session musician and backup vocalist for Fleetwood Mac, but she joined the band full-time in 1970 after marrying bassist John McVie. She shared lead vocalist duties, played keyboard, and wrote some of the band’s most famous hits, like “Little Lies,” “Everywhere,” “Say You Love Me,” and “Don’t Stop.”

“She was truly one-of-a-kind, special and talented beyond measure,” Fleetwood Mac wrote in a statement posted to their Twitter Wednesday. “She was the best musician anyone could have in their band and the best friend anyone could have in their life.”

McVie spent a drama-filled 28 years with the band that included a divorce from John, an affair with the band’s lighting director, and the tumultuous relationships between bandmates Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, and Lindsey Buckingham—all of which inspired the smash hit album Rumours.

Throughout it all, McVie was like the band’s Mother Teresa, keeping their various warring factions at peace. But when she left in 1990, along with Nicks, she said she simply needed a change of scenery.

“When the time comes for change, you know it, you feel it. Things can’t go on the same as always. You go around in circles,” she said at the time.

McVie returned to the group in 2014 and “wrote up a storm,” Mick Fleetwood said, before the reinvigorated group released a new album and embarked on a U.S. tour.

In her 15 years away from the band, McVie said she wasn’t interested in playing music and “just enjoyed having my dogs, living in the country, going for long walks.”

“Then the feeling came back,” she told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “Mick and I have always been in touch, and he said, ‘Do you ever think you’ll come back?’ I said, ‘I don’t know.’ Suffice to say that I did decide to return and never regretted it.”

Asked by Rolling Stone what advice she would give herself if she could travel back in time to 1976, when Fleetwood Mac were on their astronomical rise to stardom, she was circumspect.

“I think I followed my map pretty well in the course of my life,” she said.

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