Beloved Beach Boys member dies from cancer

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Jeffrey Foskett, the beloved long-time member of The Beach Boys, has died after a prolonged battle with anaplastic thyroid cancer. The American singer-guitarist was 67.

Foskett’s family confirmed his death in a statement shared on Instagram, thanking his friends and fans for their “outpouring of love and support”.

“We love reading about every show, every tour memory, and every laugh he provided to the world,” the statement read. “We are deeply touched knowing Jeff has played such a pivotal role in so many of our lives, as he did yours.

“He was so special and we are so grateful that the world got to experience him,” the message continued. “There was truly no one like him and there never will be.”

The singer-guitarist, who joined the Beach Boys in the Eighties and also played in co-founders Brian Wilson and Mike Love’s touring bands, was diagnosed with stage 4 anaplastic thyroid cancer in 2019.


Despite his health struggles, he released the album Voices – including covers of songs such as The Beach Boys hits “I Shall Be Released” and “Good Vibrations” and Neil Sedaka’s “Laughter in the Rain”.

Foskett told Rolling Stone he struggled to accept that Voices would likely be his final album, explaining “it’s very difficult to call it that” because “my voice is my instrument”.

Wilson, 81, paid tribute to Foskett in a heartfelt message shared on Facebook on Monday (11 December).

“Jeff was always there for me when we toured and we couldn’t have done it without him,” Wilson, 81, wrote. “Jeff was one of the most talented guys I ever knew. He was a great musical leader and guitarist and he could sing like an angel.”

He recalled the first time he met Foskett, an ardent Beach Boys fan, on his birthday in 1978 when “he knocked on my door in Bel Air and I invited him in”

“We were friends ever since,” WIlson added. “I don’t know what else to say. Love and Mercy to Jeff’s family and friends. We will remember him forever.”

The Beach Boys’ Al Jardine recalled Foskett’s “contagious positive spirit” in a tribute shared on Instagram.

“He was so talented on so many different levels but it was his wonderful sense of humor that kept him balanced and helped him navigate all the hard knocks you get in the music business,” the 81-year-old musician wrote.

“Jeff had a contagious positive spirit and never gave up hope. God bless his beautiful spirit and zest for life, we will really miss him and cherish all the great times we shared together,” he added. “Keeping his wife Diana, his daughter and family and fans everywhere in our thoughts.

“Rest in peace Jeff and thanks for always making us smile.”

Born in San Jose, California, Foskett became a fan of The Beach Boys after he heard their song “I Get Around”. A few months after his serendipitous meeting with Brian in 1976, he was discovered by Love at a famous Santa Barbara restaurant where Foskett was performing.

Shortly after, Foskett began touring with the singer’s Endless Summer Beach Band.

When The Beach Boys’ original member Carl Wilson decided to embark on a solo musical career, Love invited Foskett to take his place, with the singer asked to stay on even after Carl’s return, which he did until 1990.

“In 1990, I took a break at the request of Michael and Carl,” Foskett previously said. “I was actually doing a lot of work in the Japanese market, writing my own songs. I was making really good money as a solo artist, and I released six or eight original albums over there. They were using them in commercials and TV shows. I did very well.

In 1998, he was invited to play the guitar with Brian, who was being honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Shortly after, Brian’s wife Melinda Wilson asked Foskett to assemble a touring band for her husband for his solo tour.

Foskett also reunited with The Beach Boys in 2012 for their 50th anniversary tour, when they played around 75 shows together.

Jeffrey Foskett (L) and Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys perform during the 27th National Memorial Day
Jeffrey Foskett (L) and Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys perform during the 27th National Memorial Day

“That was the most fun tour I’d ever been on, and I’ve been on a lot of tours,” he said. “And then the following year, Brian and Jeff Beck got together and did the Brian and Jeff Beck tour. And that was the most stressful tour I’d ever been on.

“So I went from the most fun to the most stressful. And I thought, “Well, I just don’t know if I can do this anymore,” he added.

Reflecting on his diagnosis, Foskett said anaplastic thyroid cancer is the “grimmest of grim as far as prognosis” while revealing he was receiving treatment as part of a clinical trial at the MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston.

His final social media post was in March this year, when Foskett shared a video of himself ringing a bell at the Houston-based institute after completing four years of treatment.

“I don’t often post on Social but I thought this milestone was significant,” he captioned his post. “Thank You to all of you for your Prayers. They work! I am living proof. I am one of God’s Walking Miracles.”