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Tributes for Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie after 'song bird' dies aged 79

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 30/11/2022 Catherine Lough
McVie performs in 2014 in New York - Noam Galai © Noam Galai McVie performs in 2014 in New York - Noam Galai

One of the founders of Fleetwood Mac says "part of my heart has flown away" following the death of bandmate Christine McVie.

McVie died at the age of 79 following a short illness, her family confirmed on Wednesday night.

Mick Fleetwood released a tribute to the "song bird", saying he would "miss everything" about his friend. 

"This is a day where my dear sweet Friend Christine McVie has taken to flight and left us earthbound folks to listen with bated breath to the sounds of that 'song bird,' reminding one and all that love is all around us to reach for and touch in this precious life that is gifted to us," Fleetwood wrote on Twitter.

"Part of my heart has flown away today.. I will miss everything about you Christine McVie.

"Memories abound.. they fly to me. Mick Fleetwood."

McVie, born in Lancashire in 1943 and brought up in Birmingham, became the co-lead singer and keyboardist of Fleetwood Mac, one of the most famous bands in the world.

The British-American rock band, founded in London in 1967, sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the most successful groups ever.

Their best-known songs include Dreams, Go Your Own Way and Everywhere.

A statement from her family said: "It is with a heavy heart we are informing you of Christine's death. She passed away peacefully at hospital this morning, Wednesday, November 30th 2022, following a short illness.

"She was in the company of her family. We kindly ask that you respect the family's privacy at this extremely painful time and we would like everyone to keep Christine in their hearts and remember the life of an incredible human being, and revered musician who was loved universally."

Christine in 1987 - Aaron Rapoport © Provided by The Telegraph Christine in 1987 - Aaron Rapoport

The singer started learning music at age 11, but later studied sculpture at Moseley School of Art with the intention of becoming an art teacher. During that period she knew a number of blues musicians and sang with blues band Chicken Shack before meeting Fleetwood Mac.

She left Chicken Shack in 1969, after marrying Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie a year before, and moved with the band to the US in 1974, where both Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, who became two of the band’s most iconic singers, joined the crew.

By the end of the band’s Rumours tour, Christine and John McVie were divorced. The band went on to record the double album Tusk in 1979, and in 1981 the album Mirage, which included the song ‘Hold Me’, co-written by McVie about her difficult relationship with Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson.

McVie left Chicken Shack in 1969, after marrying Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie a year before - Sam Emerson © Provided by The Telegraph McVie left Chicken Shack in 1969, after marrying Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie a year before - Sam Emerson

Singer-songwriter and keyboardist McVie penned Songbird, one of the band's most famous tracks, as well as You Make Loving Fun, Oh Daddy and Little Lies.

McVie went on to marry keyboardist Eddy Quintela in 1986 and rejoined Fleetwood Mac for their Tango in the Night album, following a period as a solo singer. She took another hiatus from the band between 1998 and 2014, but returned to perform with the band, and went on to record an album with Lindsey Buckingham in 2017.

She was among the eight members of the band who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

In 2017, she appeared on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, revealing that she had retreated from the world and developed agoraphobia after she quit the band and moved from California to Kent.

Fleetwood Mac together in 2014 - MIKE SEGAR © Provided by The Telegraph Fleetwood Mac together in 2014 - MIKE SEGAR The band in 1982 - David Montgomery © Provided by The Telegraph The band in 1982 - David Montgomery

McVie's death comes two years after Fleetwood Mac co-founder Peter Green died at the age of 73.

A statement from the band said on Twitter: "There are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine McVie. She was 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.

"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. She will be so very missed."

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