R.I.P. Andy Hummel (of Big Star)

The Dallas Observer reports that, yesterday, former Big Star bassist Andy Hummel passed away at his Weatherford, Texas home. He was 59.

Hummel’s camp has yet to release a statement, however, several media outlets and musicians are confirming the news. Yesterday, Posies frontman Ken Stringfellow tweeted “Another sad loss for Big Star fans as Andy Hummel passes away after long illness.” Stringfellow was part of Big Star’s most recent lineup and played at the South by Southwest memorial set for Hummel’s former bandmate, Big Star singer Alex Chilton, who died in March.

Big Star producer John Fry told Memphis’ Commercial Appeal that Hummel had been undergoing treatment for cancer until he went into a hip operation where doctors informed him that the disease had spread and that his condition was terminal. “At that point,” said Fry, “[he] elected to accept hospice care and spent the last couple weeks at home with his family. It’s been pretty devastating.”

Fry, who engineered the band’s 1972 #1 Record, added that Hummel kept his cancer under wraps until last fall. “That was Andy,” said Fry, “he didn’t want to worry people with his problems. I’m terribly glad he got to live long enough to see another chapter in this very unlikely story of 40 years or people discovering this music that he had a big hand in making. Andy was a beautiful guy.”

A founding member of influential Memphis outfit, Hummel provided the low end for such Big Star classics as #1 Record and 1974’s Radio City. His final appearance with the band came at the aforementioned Chilton tribute concert during last March’s South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

Check out the video of Hummel playing one last time with Big Star drummer Jody Stephens below.


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