Friends, colleagues and admirers are fondly remembering Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, 78, who died Monday at home in Marin County.
“It’s difficult to imagine the Grateful Dead without Robert Hunter. His words were as integral to the band as Jerry [Garcia]’s guitar,” veteran pop music writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine tweeted on Tuesday, while Dead drummer Mickey Hart tweeted, “There was nobody like Bob Hunter, and there never will be… A visionary wordsmith extraordinaire.”
On Tuesday morning, his family released a statement that said, “It is with great sadness we confirm our beloved Robert passed away yesterday night. He died peacefully at home in his bed, surrounded by love. His wife Maureen was by his side holding his hand.”
The cause of death was not stated.
Hunter, who was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015, co-wrote some of the band’s most notable tunes, including “Casey Jones,” “China Cat Sunflower,” “St. Stephen,” “Truckin’,” “Dark Star,” “Friend of the Devil,” “Uncle John’s Band,” “Casey Jones,” “Sugar Magnolia” and “Touch of Grey.”
The only non-performing member of the Grateful Dead, he was included in the honors when the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
In addition to writing lyrics to most of Garcia’s songs, he collaborated with Bob Dylan, Jim Lauderdale, Bruce Hornsby, Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos and Hart. He also published poetry books and released numerous solo albums between 1974 and 1993.