Dave Riley, former bassist of Big Black, has died aged 59
(Credit: Touch and Go Records)

Dave Riley, former bassist of Big Black, has died aged 59

Dave Riley, the former bass player of iconic Chicago’s hardcore band Big Black, has died at the age of 59.

Riley, who played on both of Big Black’s albums alongside Steve Albini and Santiago Durango, lost a short battle with throat and lung cancer on Tuesday. Riley’s longterm partner Rachel Brown confirmed the news in a post on social media.

“Sad news my Chicago friends,” Brown said in a statement on social media. “My dearest friend and longtime housemate Dave Riley lost his short battle with cancer this morning. In late August he developed a persistent sore throat which wasn’t responsive to antibiotics. Initially dismissed as acid-reflux, further testing showed that he had a large squamous cell carcinoma in his throat which had already spread to several places in his lungs. Since treatment wouldn’t have made any difference, Dave chose to come home to die.

“His doctor predicted that he had about six months left, but sadly the cancer was so aggressive that he didn’t even make it an additional two.”

In a tribute, Brown added: “Dave and I first met in the late 1980s and our bond was instant. He was one of those people who from the moment we met, I felt like I had known him for an eternity. When I moved out of Chicago in the early 2000s I invited Dave to come live with me on my farm in west-central Illinois. Though being confined to a wheelchair after suffering a massive traumatic head injury and subsequent stroke in the early 1990s, Dave never let his disabilities get in the way of what he wanted to do in life. He created music, wrote, travelled, ran an online store and helped take care of the cats in our rescue-cat sanctuary. In 2015 we retired to a small ranch in the hills of southern Arizona where Dave enjoyed swimming in the pool and spending time outdoors in the sunshine with our dogs and donkeys.”

She added: “Decades ago Dave and I made the promise to grow old together. In his final weeks, that turned into the sad joke of ‘at least we got to grow old-ish together’. Rest in peace my dear friend, you shall forever be in my heart.”

RIP.

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