Vic Chesnutt, R.I.P.: Gifted singer-songwriter dies

Vic Chesnutt died today at age 45, the head of his label tells the Music Mix. The acclaimed singer-songwriter had been in a coma since earlier in the week. Some reports have said Chesnutt attempted suicide before the coma, but the cause of death has not been announced.

A statement on Constellation Records’ official site reads in full: “Surrounded by family and friends, Vic Chesnutt died in Athens Georgia this afternoon, Friday 25 December at 14:59. In the few short years that we knew him personally, Vic transformed our sense of what true character, grace and determination are all about. Our grief is inexpressible and Vic’s absence unfathomable. We will make more information available according to the wishes of Vic’s family and friends.”

It’s an unspeakably tragic end to Chesnutt’s story. Left in a wheelchair by a car accident at age 18, Chesnutt went on to build a devoted following with his folk-rock songs, many of which dealt eloquently with themes of pain and mortality. That following included many fellow artists: Fans including Madonna, R.E.M., and Smashing Pumpkins covered his work for Sweet Relief II, a 1996 compilation that raised funds for musicians’ health care.

Chesnutt spoke openly about his own death in an interview with NPR’s Terry Gross that aired earlier this month. “You know, I’ve attempted suicide three or four times. It didn’t take,” Chesnutt said then. “I’ve flirted with death my whole life. Even as a young kid I was sick and almost died a few times.” Pressed by Gross on the subject of his suicide attempts, he added, “Sometimes I’d be angry that they revived me. I’d be like, ‘How dare you?’…But of course as the hours and days wear on, you realize, well, there is joy to be had.”

We here at the Music Mix extend our sincerest condolences to the friends, family, and fans of this talented artist.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Comments (39 total) Add your comment
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  • Kendis

    This has really been a sad year for deaths in the entertainment industry. R.I.P. Mr. Chesnutt.

  • G.R.

    RIP Vic. :(
    My heart goes out to his family and friends…

  • Marianna

    With sincere condolences to the Chestnutt family, we wish you peace on your journey Vic, may you find on the other side what eluded you here.

  • Jonas wainman

    @Pete.You spent the time to type this? No one is asking you to mourn anything. His music meant a lot to many people, those people and his loved ones will mourn him. nobody needs your mourning.Its just a shame that he felt like he needed to end his life. Keep your bitterness.

  • Jean Genie

    This is one hell of a tragedy. May he rest in peace.

  • thenedew2

    The NPR interview is amazing. I highly recommend everyone listen to it.

    RIP Vic.

    • Joni

      I heard it too – twice. Once on WLRN (Miami) and again a few hours later on WXEL (West Palm Beach).
      It shocks me to the core that this talented man is gone.

  • FunDir

    Funeral Services for Vic Chesnutt will be arranged by Bridges Funeral Home in Athens, Ga.

  • RussellB


    I wonder if you understand the level of misunderstanding of the situation you have?

  • Humanist

    To Patrick, who wrote: “It took 4 suicide attempts to work, what a moron.”

    Your compassion is mind-boggling. You’re one of the fortunate who’ve apparently never suffered great pain or a tragic loss but, sadly, you’ve also failed to ever become a real human being, capable of empathy.

    What if members of his family read your cold words?

  • WhatTheHuh

    Humanist, you have no idea what Patrick has, or has not, been thru in his life. People react to things differently. If everyone who suffered greatly responded by killing themselves, we would be without some of the most inspirational people on this planet. Maybe Patrick has been thru loss and devastation, and feels that Vic could have been more of an example of perseverence if he had remained alive. You don’t know another man’s life until you walk a mile in his Just a thought…

    • notwithouthurt

      Mr. Chesnutt’s passing has nothing to do with or about Patrick. Patrick; please if you want to pass judgement or make hurtful remarks to it somewhere else.

    • Grinch

      Patrick’s a troll. Save your sympathy for someone who deserves it.

  • mrspansas

    I so truly agree with you Humanist. How insensitive and heartless for Patrick to make such a comment.
    I’m sure this would not be appreciated by his family.

  • Bilbo

    Does anyone know that he was a paraplegic after being in a car wreck & has been fighting depression ever since? Perhaps some people should keep their hateful words to themselves. Maybe you don’t know what depression is or you do, but this is a sad ending to his life. My prayers go out to his family & friends!

  • Clish

    One can only hope it takes you three fewer attempts, Patrick.

  • skyM

    You will be so greatly missed. The flirting is over :( There are hearts weeping all over Athens tonight.
    R.I.P. dear friend

  • Terry

    it took this tragic happening for me to find his music, and I really needed to hear it. So something has been payed forward and it is…good.
    And I thank him.

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