MUSIC

Jefferson Airplane's Paul Kantner Dies at 74

by Meredith B. Kile 9:19 PM PST, January 28, 2016
Photo: Getty Images

Paul Kanter, one of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane, died Thursday after suffering a heart attack earlier this week.

Kanter's longtime publicist and friend, Cynthia Bowman, confirmed the death to the San Francisco Chronicle, adding that the guitarist and vocalist died of multiple organ failure and septic shock. He had suffered several health problems in recent years, including a heart attack in March.

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Kantner and Jefferson Airplane helped pioneer the psychedelic "San Francisco sound" of the '60s rock scene and are best known for their hits "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit." When the band splintered due to infighting in the '70s, Kantner and singer Grace Slick transformed the group into Jefferson Starship, with whom Kantner continued to perform until 1985.

In 1991, Kantner and singer Marty Balin reformed a new version of Jefferson Starship and continued to tour through 2013. Jefferson Airplane was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

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David Crosby, who performed with the earliest incarnation of Jefferson Starship, tweeted about Kantner's death on Thursday, writing, "Paul Kantner was my friend, roommate, pal..we wrote Wooden Ships together with Stephen. I'm going to miss him."

Kantner is survived by three children: sons Gareth and Alexander, and daughter China.

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