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Jefferson Airplane / Jefferson Starship Founder Paul Kantner Dies at 74

Paul Kantner
Mario Tama, Getty Images

Sadly, another classic rock legend has passed away. Paul Kantner, the founding guitarist of Jefferson Airplane and its spinoff band Jefferson Starship, died Thursday, Jan. 28, at the age of 74 from multiple organ failure and septic shock following a heart attack earlier in the week.

Jefferson Airplane were pioneers of the psychedelic rock scene, forming in 1965 and releasing such classic hits as “Somebody To Love” (watch below) and “White Rabbit.” The band featured the powerful vocals of singers Grace Slick and Marty Balin.

With Jefferson Starship, Kantner continued to crank out hits with such songs as “Miracles” and “Count on Me.” The band is still active, with Kantner performing with them as recently as last year, though he was slowed down by a heart attack in March.

Neil Portnoy, president of the Recording Academy, issued the following statement regarding Kantner’s death:

Paul Kantner was a folk/rock giant and integral part of the 1960s rock scene. A founding member of Jefferson Airplane, who are receiving our Lifetime Achievement Award this year, Paul was a key architect in the development of what became known as the San Francisco Sound. A multifaceted singer, songwriter, guitarist, and performer, he was essential to the success of such classic Airplane songs as “Somebody To Love” and “White Rabbit.” The music community has lost a true icon, and we share our deepest condolences with Paul’s family and friends, and with those who had the privilege of collaborating with him.

For more on the life and career of Paul Kantner, please visit Ultimate Classic Rock. Our condolences go out to his family, friends and bandmates during this difficult time.

Rockers We Lost in 2015

Watch Jefferson Airplane Perform “Somebody To Love” at Woodstock

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