'There are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine McVie.'
Christine McVie, a keyboardist, singer and composer, passed away on Wednesday at 79 years of age. Her serenely upbeat tunes for Fleetwood Mac, such as "Don't Stop," "Little Lies," "Songbird," "Everywhere" and "You Make Loving Fun," helped the group become one of the most successful bands in music history. In a statement announcing her passing, her family stated that she had "passed away peacefully" at a hospital after "a short illness."
McVie was arguably the most talented hitmaker, with a natural knack for melody and a lithe, soulful voice that seemed to send her songs sailing out into the world, per LA Times. Fleetwood Mac's classic lineup also featured singers Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks along with drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, to whom she had previously been married. "I don't struggle over my songs," Rolling Stone quoted her as saying in 1977. "I write them quickly."
Her calm presence at the keyboard onstage served as an essential counterbalance to the more theatrical performances of Buckingham and Nicks, whose turbulent romance fueled the band's darkly glamorous legend. McVie was also very instrumental in establishing the group's "sound." Between Fleetwood Mac's early years as a British blues-rock band and its commercial zenith as a Los Angeles-based soft-rock group in the 1970s and '80s, she acted as a sort of connecting thread. She also contributed the well-known songs "Hold Me," "Think About Me" and "Say You Love Me," all of which reflected her breezy yet seductive style.
"There are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine McVie," Fleetwood Mac said in a statement shared on social media. "She was truly one-of-a-kind, special, and talented beyond measure. She was the best musician anyone could have in their band and the best friend anyone could have in their life. Individually and together, we cherished Christine deeply and are thankful for the amazing memories we have. She will be very missed."
"Rumours," the 1978 album by Fleetwood Mac, took home the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. The album, which skillfully juggles intense emotion with rich, hippy iconography, chronicled the breakdown of several relationships within the band, including the McVies' marriage. McVie, born Christine Perfect on July 12, 1943, grew up in the town of Bouth in northwestern England. She learned to play the piano as a young child since her father was a music professor and her mother a clairvoyant and joined the band Chicken Shack in 1967. She went on to win a modest hit with a cover of Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind."
After releasing her debut solo album, "Christine Perfect," she married John McVie in 1968 and joined Fleetwood Mac in 1970. Buckingham and Nicks joined the band in time for Fleetwood Mac's 1975 self-titled album after a series of personnel changes involving the group's frontmen.
Nicks called McVie "my best friend in the whole world since the first day of 1975" in a handwritten statement that she shared on Instagram on Wednesday. She also claimed that she hadn't known McVie was ill until Saturday night. She ended her letter with a line from the song "Hallelujah" by the Los Angeles sister group Haim.