Former Screaming Trees frontman and enigmatic singer-songwriter Mark Lanegan has died.
The news was shared on the acclaimed alt-rocker’s verified social media accounts.
“Our beloved friend Mark Lanegan passed away this morning at his home in Killarney, Ireland,” according to the statement posted Tuesday on Lanegan’s Twitter account. “A beloved singer, songwriter, author and musician he was 57 and is survived by his wife Shelley. No other information is available at this time. We ask Please respect the family privacy.”
Lanegan co-founded the Screaming Trees in 1985 and the Ellensburg-formed band became a pioneering force in Seattle’s burgeoning grunge movement. Lanegan released his first solo album in 1990, the Sub Pop-issued “The Winding Sheet,” which featured backing vocals from a young Kurt Cobain on “Down in the Dark” and Lead Belly’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night,” which Nirvana famously covered years later. The album began Lanegan’s pivot away from some of the hallmarks of the Seattle rock sound he helped shape, as the constantly evolving artist built a distinct catalog marked by a creative restlessness.
After Screaming Trees disbanded in 2000, Lanegan continued his acclaimed solo career and pursued other collaborative projects, joining Queens of the Stone Age for several years during the early 2000s. Lanegan formed The Gutter Twins with fellow alt-rock luminary Greg Dulli of Afghan Whigs, releasing their lone album “Saturnalia,” again through Sub Pop, in 2008.
News of Lanegan’s death quickly reverberated through the Seattle music community, prompting an outpouring of remembrances. Longtime KEXP DJ Cheryl Waters, who was on the air when the news came down, started choking up as she played the Screaming Trees’ painfully on-the-nose classic “Nearly Lost You,” which was featured on the “Singles” soundtrack.
In recent years, Lanegan had become a prolific author, publishing his 2020 memoir “Sing Backwards and Weep” that dug into his time in Seattle’s rock scene during the ’80s and ’90s and his struggles with addiction. The book was released in conjunction with his last album, “Straight Songs of Sorrow,” a dark and skeletal set of synth-brushed folk songs that served as a canvas for Lanegan’s unmistakable voice, which was simultaneously gruff and gentle.
In December, Lanegan published another book, “Devil in a Coma,” detailing his harrowing battle with COVID-19 earlier last year that resulted in Lanegan losing his hearing and “slipping in and out of a coma,” according to a news release promoting the book.