Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: David Saddler)

Robert Hunter, famed Grateful Dead lyricist, has died aged 78

Robert Hunter, acclaimed lyricist, songwriter and poet, has sadly passed away at the age of 78.

Best known as being the lyricist and key songwriting component of iconic rock band Grateful Dead, the band’s drummer, Mickey Hart, confirmed that Hunter died on Monday at his home in California.

Subsequently, his family released the following statement: “It is with great sadness we confirm our beloved Robert passed away yesterday night,” the said.

“He died peacefully at home in his bed, surrounded by love. His wife Maureen was by his side holding his hand. For his fans that have loved and supported him all these years, take comfort in knowing that his words are all around us, and in that way he is never truly gone. In this time of grief please celebrate him the way you all know how, by being together and listening to the music. Let there be songs to fill the air.”

Born in California in 1941, Hunter was given lessons in writing from a young age which resulted in him devoting his life to the art while maintaining a keen love for alternative music.

After graduating from university, performing in a string of different bands and working in multiple different jobs, Hunter became close friends with The Grateful Dead who subsequently invited him to join their band as the lyricist. The relationship was built on the fact that Hunter had quickly written the songs ‘China Cat Sunflower’, ‘St. Stephen’, and ‘Alligator’ which the band took under their wing almost instantly.

Such was his importance to the band, Hunter became the only non-performer ever to be honoured by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when he was listed as a member of Grateful Dead in 1994.