Gared O'Donnell, lead vocalist, guitarist and founding member of Planes Mistaken For Stars, has passed away. He died Wednesday (Nov. 24) at the age of 44 after a battle with esophageal cancer.

The band shared a statement on Instagram, writing, in part, “It is impossible to express the depth of sorrow in which we must announce that Gared O’Donnell, our brother, our leader, our captain, who has done more to cultivate love and light in this world than any of us can understand, has moved on from his physical form here with us and crossed the rainbow bridge into the eternal ether. In his final days/hours, he was surrounded by the love of his family, his friends, his bandmates, and many others from afar.”

O'Donnell co-founded Planes Mistaken For Stars in 1997 in Peoria, Illinois, with guitarist Mat Bellinger, drummer Mike Ricketts and bassist Aaron Wise. They released a self-titled EP and then relocated to Denver, Colorado. They followed the EP with their debut album Fuck With Fire via No Idea Records in 2001, Up in Them Guts in 2004, and Mercy in 2006.

The band then disbanded until 2010 when they began touring occasionally. The band's fourth album, Prey, came out in 2016. It was their last with O'Donnell.

O'Donnell announced in August 2020 that he had been diagnosed with Stage 3 esophageal cancer. In their statement, the band mentioned O'Donnell was working on new music and that they hope to be able to share it in the future.

Many artists, including Pianos Become the Teeth and La Dispute, have paid tribute to O'Donnell online. You can check them out at the links provided.

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