Jefferson Airplane co-founder Marty Balin has died. He was 76.
The Grammy-nominated musician died in Tampa, Florida, while en route to a nearby hospital, spokesman Ryan Romensko said according to the Associated Press.
His cause of death at this time is unknown.
Balin’s family confirmed his sudden death on Facebook writing, “With a heavy heart we share this sad news.”
“Marty Balin, the legendary founder and lead vocalist of Jefferson Airplane and hit son-writer of Jefferson Starship, passed away on September 27. His wife, Susan Joy Balin, was by his side. He was 76.”
“Marty had a historic career as Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, and platinum and gold solo artist.”
“Marty’s fans describe him as having had a substantial impact for the better of the world: ‘One of the greatest voices of all time, a writer of songs that will never fade, and founder of the quintessential San Francisco band of the sixties.’ His music is known for being the soundtrack to all of life’s monumental moments.”
Balin founded Jefferson Airplane in 1965 and served as the band’s lead vocalist from 1965 to 1971 alongside guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, bassist Jack Casady, drummer Skip Spence and singer Signe Toly Anderson.
The group grew popular in San Francisco and Balin helped launch the club The Matrix, which hosted many bands including his own as well as the Doors, Janis Joplin and the Velvet Underground.
The band found mainstream success in 1967 when vocalist Grace Slick joined the group. Their hits include “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.”
He then left the group in 1971. Balin would later join Jefferson Starship, a band that included some of the members of Jefferson Airplane, in 1975.
Balin then left the group in 1978 to embark on a solo career. He released his first album in 1981 titled Balin, which featured his hits “Hearts” and “Atlanta Lady.” He then returned to Jefferson Starship in 2004 and left for good in 2008.
In 2016, while in New York City promoting his album The Greatest Love, Balin was rushed to the hospital for chest pains, according to The New York Post.
He underwent open heart surgery, a triple bypass and a valve replacement. After spending time in the intensive care unit while recovering, Balin sued the hospital claiming malpractice.
Balin alleged his surgery was botched and as a result lost half of his tongue and suffered a paralyzed vocal chord as well as losing his thumb. The suit was still before the courts as of last month.
In addition to his wife Susan, Marty is survived by his daughters Delaney Buchwald and Jennifer Buchwald with ex-wife Karen Deal.