Marty Balin the Singer, songwriter, the co-founder of the psychedelic US rock band Jefferson Airplane died at the age of 76 on the way to the hospital to in Tampa, Florida on Thursday. His death was announced on Friday by his wife, Susan Joy Balin. A representative, Ryan Romanesco, said Mr. Balin, who lived in Tampa, had died en route to a hospital. No cause of death was given.
Born Martyn Jerel Buchwald in Cincinnati, Ohio, on January 30, 1942, he was raised in the Bay Area and later attended San Francisco State University. Though he initially pursued a career as a painter, Balin turned to music after appearing in a production of West Side Story, and issued the solo singles "Nobody But You" and "I Specialize in Love" on Challenge in 1962. Two years later, he joined the folk combo the Town Criers, followed by a brief stint with the Gateway Singers. In 1965, Balin formed the Band Jefferson Airplane Balin met singer/guitarist Paul Kantner at the local club the Drinking Gourd, and together they formed Jefferson Airplane.
The band was best known for their hits sung by vocalist Grace Slick, including Somebody to Love and White Rabbit.Jefferson Airplane played the Woodstock music festival in 1969 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.Balin also wrote songs like Volunteers and Today for the band, as well as contributing to hits for Jefferson Starship in the mid-1970s, including Runaway and Miracles.
The band went through various line-ups, and Balin left Jefferson Starship in 2008 to focus on a solo career during which he had success with Hearts and Atlanta Lady.
Balin had heart surgery in 2016 and in August this year he filed a civil lawsuit for malpractice against a New York City hospital, saying he left the hospital with a damaged tongue and vocal chords.
“Marty and I shared the deepest of love — he often called it Nirvana — and it was. But really, we were all touched by his love. His presence will be within my entire being forever,” Susan Joy Balin said in a statement.
Jefferson Starship, the splinter band that Balin also played in for a number of years, paid tribute to their former bandmate on its official Facebook site.
“With heavy hearts, we learn today of the passing of Marty Balin. He was a true talent and inspiration to many. We send his family and friends our deepest condolences,” the group said.