Melissa Etheridge pays tribute to her children’s father David Crosby

Melissa Etheridge said she will always be grateful to “true treasure” and musician David Crosby for giving her the “gift of family” as she paid tribute to the singer, who has died aged 81.

Crosby is the biological father of fellow American musician Etheridge’s two children, Beckett and Bailey Cypher, who were conceived using artificial insemination.

She shares both children with former partner and film director Julie Cypher, who she split with in 2000.

Crosby died following a “long illness”, his wife Jan Dance confirmed in a statement to US outlet Variety.

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On Instagram, two-time Grammy-winner Etheridge wrote: “I am grieving the loss of my friend, and Bailey’s and Beckett’s biological father, David. He gave me the gift of family.

“I will forever be grateful to him, (his son) Django, and Jan. His music and legacy will inspire many generations to come. A true treasure.”

Her son Beckett died in May 2020 at the age of 21 following a battle with drug addiction.

The 61-year-old, best-known for the songs Black Velvet, Ain’t It Heavy and Come To My Window, set up the Etheridge Foundation in his memory which supports research into nature-based treatments for opioid use.

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Also paying tribute to Crosby was Brian Wilson and his former Byrds bandmate Chris Hillman.

The Beach Boys’ Wilson posted on Twitter, saying: “I don’t know what to say other than I’m heartbroken to hear about David Crosby. David was an unbelievable talent – such a great singer and songwriter.

“And a wonderful person. I just am at a loss for words. Love & Mercy to David’s family and friends. Love, Brian.”

Four-time Grammy winner Jason Isbell also wrote on Twitter: “Grateful for the time we had with David Crosby. We’ll miss him a lot.”

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Stephen Stills and Graham Nash who worked with Crosby in influential rock band Crosby, Stills and Nash also released statements.

While with the two musicians, he wrote Guinnevere, Almost Cut My Hair, Long Time Gone, Delta and Deja Vu.

Crosby is also known for collaborating on chart-topping hits with The Byrds, including a cover of Bob Dylan’s Mr Tambourine Man, which leapt to number one in the US singles chart, and Turn! Turn! Turn!

Former Jefferson Airplane member Jorma Kaukonen also shared a statement on Instagram, saying: “He was always brash and self-confident… two qualities he never lost.

“He was a great artist who was always true to himself.

“He was my friend and what we shared transcended the music. I will miss him!”

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His death was confirmed in a statement to US outlet Variety, in which his wife wrote: “It is with great sadness after a long illness, that our beloved David (Croz) Crosby has passed away.

“He was lovingly surrounded by his wife and soulmate Jan and son Django.

“Although he is no longer here with us, his humanity and kind soul will continue to guide and inspire us. His legacy will continue to live on through his legendary music.

“Peace, love, and harmony to all who knew David and those he touched. We will miss him dearly. At this time, we respectfully and kindly ask for privacy as we grieve and try to deal with our profound loss. Thank you for the love and prayers.”