Black Keys Collaborator Richard Swift's Cause Of Death Revealed

By Paul Gaita 07/12/18

The prolific musician battled alcohol addiction prior to his death. 

Richard Swift
Photo via YouTube

The family of singer-songwriter and music producer Richard Swift confirmed that his death on July 3, 2018 was due to alcohol addiction. A post on Swift's Facebook page confirmed that the 41-year-old died in a hospice facility in Tacoma, Washington one month after being hospitalized for hepatitis and liver and kidney distress.

In addition to releasing several acclaimed solo albums, Swift performed and toured with the Black Keys, Wilco and the Shins, produced recordings by Damien Jurado and The Mynabirds, among others, and owned a recording studio, National Freedom, where artists like Sharon Van Etten and Guster recorded material.

Swift was hospitalized in June for an undisclosed "life-threatening condition," for which a GoFundMe page was established to offset hospital costs.

After his death on July 3, Swift's family, his label and Next Wave Management issued a joint statement on his official Facebook page to address questions about his passing. 

The post's authors confirmed that Swift suffered from alcohol addiction, which "ultimately took his life," they wrote. With help from friends and family and the assistance of MusiCares, a foundation which provides medical and personal assistance to music industry figures, he had undergone "multiple stays" in rehabilitation facilities during the past two years, and was diagnosed with hepatitis and liver and kidney ailments in June 2018.

According to the post, "multiple hospitals worked to help stabilize him over the course of that month, but his body was unable to heal, and per his wishes and with his family's consent, he was moved to hospice care."

Swift died in the early morning of July 3, leaving behind his wife, Shealynn, and three children.

A prolific and widely admired musician and producer, Swift began his recording career with two self-released albums that were reissued by the independent label Secretly Canadian as The Richard Swift Collection, Volume 1 in 2005.

He issued a slew of solo work between 2007 and 2014, which featured contributions by Mark Ronson and Ryan Adams, among others, while also serving as a member of the Shins from 2011 to 2016 and as touring bassist for the Black Keys in 2014 and drummer for the Arcs. 

Black Keys co-founder Dan Auerbach paid tribute to his friend with an Instagram post on July 3 that read, "Today the world lost one of the most talented musicians I know. I will miss you my friend."

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.