Robert Hunter, lyricist of the Grateful Dead, has passed away Monday night at the age of 78.
"It is with great sadness we confirm our beloved Robert passed away yesterday night," Hunter's family addresses the public. "He died peacefully at home in his bed, surrounded by love. His wife Maureen was by his side holding his hand."
Hunter first met Jerry Garcia in 1961 but declined to join his band and headed to Stanford University to pursue writing.
"I moved to New Mexico, and it occurred to me to send the lyrics to those songs to Jerry because the Dead had formed," Hunter told Alan Paul back in 2015. "And he wrote back and said, 'Why don't you come back to California and be our lyricist?' So, I hitchhiked back to San Francisco and met up with them in Rio Nido. They were working on 'Dark Star,' and I wrote the lyrics to it right then. It just started working immediately."
As Hunter settled in as the group's in-house lyricist, he went on to write Dark Star, a staple song in the Grateful Dead's concerts. Hunter also collaborated on a number of other Grateful Dead songs like Touch of Grey, Truckin', Black Muddy River, Box of Rain, Brokedown Palace, Casey Jones, Friend of the Devil, Playing in the Band, Ripple, and more.
A couple of years ago, Hunter was battling spinal abscess and a bladder cancer. He went on a solo tour in 2013 to cover his medical bills. The same year, Hunter received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association. Check out his 'Ripple' performance at the event below.
In 2015, Hunter and Garcia were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
No immediate cause of death was provided by the family.