Danny Kirwan, who appeared on five of Fleetwood Mac's albums from 1969 to 1972, died in London at the age of 68

By Stephanie Petit
June 10, 2018 10:15 AM
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Former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Danny Kirwan has died, the band announced on Facebook.

The musician, who appeared on five of Fleetwood Mac’s albums from 1969 to 1972, died in London on Friday at the age of 68. The cause of death has not yet been revealed.

“Danny was a huge force in our early years,” said a statement from Mick Fleetwood and Fleetwood Mac. “His love for the Blues led him to being asked to join Fleetwood Mac in 1968, where he made his musical home for many years.”

“Danny’s true legacy, in my mind, will forever live on in the music he wrote and played so beautifully as a part of the foundation of Fleetwood Mac, that has now endured for over fifty years,” the iconic group continued. “Thank you, Danny Kirwan. You will forever be missed!”

Credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images

Kirwan appeared on 1969’s Then Play On, 1969’s Blues Jam at Chess, 1970’s Kiln House, 1971’s Future Games and 1972’s Bare Trees.

Danny Kirwan (far left) with Fleetwood Mac in 1971
| Credit: Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns

Kirwan departed the band in 1972 due to reported struggles with mental illness exacerbated by drug use and alcoholism, and he endured a period of homelessness in the 1980s and 1990s.

“I’ve been through a bit of a rough patch but I’m not too bad,” he told the Independent in 1993 after Fleetwood contacted the Missing Persons Bureau in London. “I get by and I suppose I am homeless, but then I’ve never really had a home since our early days on tour. I couldn’t handle it all mentally and I had to get out. I can’t settle.”

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Danny Kirwan with Fleetwood Mac
| Credit: Ron Howard/Redferns

He added, “I was lucky to have played for the band at all. I just started off following them around, but I could play the guitar a bit and Mick felt sorry for me and put me in. I did it for about four years, to about 1972, but … I couldn’t handle the lifestyle and the women and the traveling.”

Kirwan was among the eight members of the band — along with Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Peter Green, John McVie, Christine McVie and Jeremy Spencer — who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. However, he did not appear for the ceremony, according to Rolling Stone.