DEAD: ON THIS DATE
John Denver (aged 53)
Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. (December 31, 1943 – October 12, 1997), known professionally as John Denver, was an American singer-songwriter, record producer, actor, activist, and humanitarian, whose greatest commercial success was as a solo singer. After traveling and living in numerous locations while growing up in his military family, Denver began his music career with folk music groups during the late 1960s. Starting in the 1970s, he was one of the most popular acoustic artists of the decade and one of its best-selling artists. By 1974, he was firmly established as one of America’s best-selling performers, and AllMusic has described Denver as “among the most beloved entertainers of his era”.
DEATH: Denver was killed on October 12, 1997, when his experimental Rutan Long-EZ plane, aircraft registration number N555JD, crashed into Monterey Bay near Pacific Grove, California, while making a series of touch-and-go landings at the nearby Monterey Peninsula Airport. Denver was the only occupant of the aircraft. Identification was not possible using dental records; only his fingerprints confirmed that the pilot was Denver. The official cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma resulting from the crash.