Singer-songwriter David Crosby died suddenly on January 18, 2023. He was 81 years old. A cause of death was not announced at the time, but three months later his former bandmate Graham Nash disclosed that he’d been battling COVID-19 after contracting it for a second time. Nash also revealed that a reconciliation between the musicians was in the works at the time of Crosby’s death.
He was in a struggle with COVID
In an interview on Kyle Meredith’s podcast, Graham Nash revealed that Crosby was “rehearsing for a show to do in Los Angeles with a full band. After three days of rehearsals, he felt a little sick. And he’d already had COVID and he had COVID again. And so he went home and decided that he would take a nap, and he never woke up.” He added that Crosby had passed away in his own bed rather than in a hospital “and that is fantastic.”
Just before the end of Crosby’s life, the former bandmates seemed to have been repairing their broken friendship. Decades of tumult between the members of Crosby, Stills & Nash had caused the group to officially split in 2016, but Crosby was finally ready to make amends. Sadly, his efforts were cut short.
Crosby and Nash were bandmates for decades before falling out
Crosby and Nash were former members of the legendary folk-rock band CSN (Crosby, Stills, & Nash), which later expanded into CSNY (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young). The former began in the late 1960s, and throughout the years, relationships between Crosby and the other band members became quarrelsome. The band would eventually split due to their feuding after 50 years of performing together.
Following the group’s split, Nash and Crosby did not have very nice things to say about one another. In 2021, David Crosby said of Nash, “Graham just changed from the guy I thought was my best friend to being a guy that is definitely my enemy, so I don’t see any future there at all.”
In 2022, Nash explained how things felt on his end. “My patience, my love for [Crosby], it all just stopped,” he said. When asked if he loved Crosby, he responded by saying, “Of course, for 50-odd years. But when he goes on social media, says I wasn’t his friend, and all I was in it for was the money, that’s [expletive] heartbreaking for me.”
Nash received a voicemail from Crosby, who was looking to apologize
In an interview with AARP, Nash explained that things seemed to be on the mend following a voicemail he received from Crosby. “The fact is that we were getting a little closer at the end,” Nash said. “He had sent me a voicemail saying that he wanted to talk to apologize, and could we set up a time to talk.” Open to the idea, Nash responded to Crosby. “I emailed him back and said, ‘OK, call me at 11 o’clock tomorrow your time, which is 2 o’clock on the East Coast.’ He never called, and then he was gone.”
Nash received the voicemail just over a week before Crosby’s death.
Nash was comforted by the message
Things had gotten really rotten between the two of them, but following Crosby’s death, it gave Nash comfort knowing he wanted to make amends. “[I]f he was willing to call me and apologize for what he had done and how he had hurt me, it made his death a little easier for me to accept,” he said.
When he thinks back on his friendship with Crosby, Nash says he’d rather focus on the good stuff. “I think one of the only things that we can do, particularly me, is only try to remember the good times. Try to remember the great music that we made. I’m only going to be interested in the good times, because if I concentrate on the bad times, it gets too weird for me.”
Crosby’s death felt like an ‘earthquake’ to Nash
As he got older, it was clear that Crosby’s health was deteriorating. Years of heavy addiction had taken its toll on his body, and he was suffering from diabetes and arterial disease in his later years. His health was so bad, in fact, that Nash admitted, “The truth is… we’ve been expecting David to pass for 20 years.” Nash also expressed how Crosby was a smart guy and likely knew he was near his end, giving a reason for the voicemail.
Nash said he was still feeling Crosby’s death days after it happened. “You know that you’re in an earthquake, but subsequently, other smaller earthquakes happen afterwards,” he said. “It was only two or three days after he passed that I realized that he was actually gone.”
Graham Nash concluded the interview by saying, “I wish to God that David would have had a better ending. But him being happy at the end made it much better for me to be able to accept.”