Black Keys Collaborator Richard Swift Dies at 41
Richard Swift, who’d been the touring bassist with the Black Keys since 2014, has died at the age of 41, band leader Dan Auerbach confirmed. Swift, a multi-instrumentalist, had been a member of the Shins and Auerbach’s side project the Arcs, and also a studio owner, producer and film-maker.
“Today the world lost one of the most talented musicians I know,” Auerbach said via Instagram, alongside a picture of the pair together. “He’s now with his Mom and Sister. I will miss you my friend.” A post on Swift’s official Facebook page confirmed his passing, adding, “And all the angels sing ’Que Sera Sera.'”
While an official cause of death has not been revealed, a previous post reported that he’d been “hospitalized due to a serious medical condition” last month, and that he was “up against some tough odds.” A GoFundMe campaign had been launched to help with his medical bills, as he was uninsured. The campaign was converted into a memorial fund and has so far raised nearly $90,000 of a $200,000 target.
“It is with great sadness we inform you that Richard passed early this morning while in hospice, his family near, his favorite records playing,” the latest update read. “He was motivated by discovery, a fearless explorer of other artists and their work, and what he found he shared. ‘Listen to this,’ he said. ‘Look at this.’ … So much music came out of him. Music he gave to the artists he worked with. Music that supported. Music that challenged. Music that said, be better, we can be better. It was this insatiable pursuit of his own ability, his need for control and creation, that spilled into his personal life, a pursuit that sadly, tragically, swallowed him up.”
In a 2013 interview, Swift said making music was “therapeutic” for him, explaining, “I like how these things sound, they turn me on, they turn on my friends, and they turn on strangers that I don’t know. You don’t want to overthink it, but we’re all going to be dead and our grandchildren are going to be dead and our great-grandchildren are going to be dead. Our names are going to go missing, and that’s okay, but there’s technology that exists that can carry on some sort of thing that states that you were here and that you kind of cared. Maybe you were a little too sensitive, but you cared about the little details that everybody can kind of relate to.”