Christine McVie, the English singer-songwriter who helped launch the rock band Fleetwood Mac into international fame, has died. She was 79.
McVie’s family said in a statement that she passed away “peacefully” Wednesday morning at the hospital “following a short illness.”
The family said that they were with her when she passed away and they asked for privacy during this time.
The band issued a statement Wednesday afternoon, calling McVie “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 said. “We were so lucky to have a life with her.”
“Individually and together, we cherished Christine deeply and are thankful for the amazing memories we have,” the statement added. “She will be so very missed.”
Born in England on July 12, 1943, she followed in her father’s footsteps as a musician and began playing the piano when she was 11 and later became interested in rock ‘n’ roll as a teenager.
McVie was originally known professionally by her maiden name, Christine Perfect, when she catapulted to fame in the late 60s as a member of the British rock combo Chicken Shack, Variety reported. By that time she had already married John McVie, a member of Fleetwood Mac.
After divorcing John McVie in 1976, she was engaged to Beach Boys’ drummer-songwriter-vocalist Dennis Wilson for three years before that relationship ended. She married Eddy Quintela in 1986 and later divorced him in 2003.
She first appeared on the band’s sophomore album “Mr. Wonderful” in 1968 before becoming a permanent member of the band in 1971.
Variety notes that the band transformed into a “a pop music juggernaut” after the American duo of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined the band in the mid 70s.
“Ms. McVie was the more levelheaded, kindly voice alongside the band’s other two songwriters: Ms. Nicks — sometimes dreamy, sometimes vindictive — and the guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, who tucked angry, wounded lyrics into virtuosic guitar parts,” The New York Times’ critic Jon Pareles wrote in a 2014 review. “Ms. McVie’s demure alto bound together the group’s vocal harmonies; her songs promised that loyal affection was still possible.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.