Monday, May 25, 2009

Former Wilco member JAY BENNETT dies!

Jay Bennett, a rock musician best known as a former member of Wilco, died early Sunday morning in downstate Urbana, where he had been running a recording studio, according to a spokesman for his family.

The singer and multi-instrumentalist was 45 years old.

"Early this morning, Jay died in his sleep and an autopsy is being performed," said Edward Burch, a friend and musician who collaborated with Bennett on the 2005 album The Palace At 4 a.m. "The family is in mourning and is unavailable for comment at this time."

Bennett's contributions to Wilco over a seven-year period were key to the albums that resulted in the band's national breakthrough, including Being There (1996), Summerteeth (1999) and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002).

Relations between Bennett and Tweedy, both painstaking perfectionists, soured during the latter recording, as documented in the film I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, and Bennett left the band.

Wilco publicist Deb Bernardini released the following statement from Tweedy:
"We are all deeply saddened by this tragedy. We will miss Jay as we remember him -- as a truly unique and gifted human being and one who made welcome and significant contributions to the band's songs and evolution. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends in this very difficult time."

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