“Mac” McLagan, keyboardist of The Small Faces and Faces, died yesterday in his adopted hometown of Austin, Texas, after suffering a massive stroke.
He was 69. A day later, many well-known artists – including band mates, collaborators, friends and fans of McLagan’s impressive body of work – are paying homage to the acclaimed musician.
Small Faces and Faces drummer Kenney Jones, who also played with The Who, revealed that he’d just learned his first grandson had been born when he also learned of the death of McLagan, whom he called his “dearest friend.”
“I am absolutely devastated and quite speechless,” Jones wrote on his official Facebook page. “He shared some of the most wonderful years of my life and I am still shocked. Please share my thoughts for his family and fans as he will always be with us. He has gone to join [Small Faces members] Steve [Marriott] and Ronnie [Lane] but way too soon, on a journey to the other half of the moon.”
Faces and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, meanwhile, posted a brief note on his Twitter account paying tribute to both McLagan and longtime Stones sax player Bobby Keys, who died Tuesday. The message reads, simply, “God Bless Bobby and Mac.” Incidentally, Ian also recorded with The Stones and toured with them during the late ’70s and early ’80s.
Earlier this year, McLagan contributed his keyboard skills to the self-titled debut album of the new supergroup The Empty Hearts. The band’s drummer, Clem Burke of Blondie fame, released a statement on behalf of The Empty Hearts that reads, “We will remain forever grateful to him for lending his legendary talent to our work and his enthusiastic support of our efforts – but more so for his legacy as the exemplary man and musician he was. Our thoughts go out to his family and loved ones. Today, our hearts are empty.” The group also posted a touching video on their Facebook page capturing McLagan working on a piano part for one of The Empty Hearts’ songs.
Here’s what some other artists had to say about McLagan’s passing:
Joe Walsh: “Ian McLagan. RIP my friend. Such a huge loss. In my heart and prayers.”
The Kinks’ Dave Davies: “RIP Ian [McLagan] – nice guy.”
Yes/Asia keyboardist Geoffrey Downes: “Very sad to hear about the death of Ian McLagan. The Small Faces were a big inspiration to many, as one of the first psychedelic pop bands.”
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench: “What a joyous player. King of the Wurlitzer, giant of the Hammond & the rock & roll piano. Terrific memoirist. Damn damn damn.”
Former Go-Go’s bassist Kathy Valentine: “RIP @Ian_McLagan, all who knew him will agree he was the most honest, kind, happy soul we were so blessed to have him and I am heartbroken.” She also posted a photo of her with McLagan from last year.