New York (AFP) – Christine McVie, the English hitmaker and keyboardist who found fame in the 1970s as a member of Fleetwood Mac, died Wednesday, the band and her family said. She was 79 years old.
A family statement posted on McVie’s social media said the artist died “peacefully” while hospitalized “following a short illness.”
In a separate statement from Fleetwood Mac, the legendary band called McVie — who joined the group behind “Rumours” in 1970 and penned a number of their hits — “truly one-of-a-kind, special and talented beyond measure.”
“She was the best musician anyone could have in their band and the best friend anyone could have in their life,” the statement continued.
“She will be so very missed.”
Born Christine Anne Perfect on July 12, 1943 in England, the artist studying sculpture fell in with musicians in Britain’s blues scene and her nascent career in rock began.
In 1967 she joined the blues band Chicken Shack, which routinely came across Fleetwood Mac, and played piano as a session musician on a number of Peter Green’s songs off the latter band’s second album “Mr. Wonderful.”
She married member and bassist John McVie in 1968, and joined the group officially in 1970, becoming a mainstay member as a lyricist, lead vocalist and keyboardist.
When the group went stateside and added members Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, McVie penned a number of hit songs off their 1975 self-titled album, including “Over My Head” and “Say You Love Me.”
Her biggest hit was “Don’t Stop,” off the seminal “Rumours” album, which also included her songs “Songbird” and “You Make Loving Fun,” a track about her affair with the band’s lighting director.
The McVies divorced by the end of the tour — a closing chapter to one of many of Fleetwood’s well-known, tumultuous love stories that inspired their hit music.
Despite its ever-changing lineup and juicy internal drama, Fleetwood Mac is one of the most popular and influential bands of the 1970s and 1980s.
McVie was inducted alongside fellow band members into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.