Danny Kirwan, Fleetwood Mac Guitarist, Dies at 68

Former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Danny Kirwan has died, according to a statement from the band. He was 68.

Kirwan was a member of the band from 1968 to 1972 and played on five of the band's early albums: Then Play On (1969), Blues Jam at Chess (​1969), Kiln House (​1970), Future Games​ (1971) and Bare Trees (​1972).

Fleetwood Mac released a statement on Facebook about Kirwan's passing. It was authored by drummer Mick Fleetwood, who reflected on Kirwan's stint as a guitarist during the group's formative years.

"Today was greeted by the sad news of the passing of Danny Kirwan in London, England," Mick Fleetwood wrote on Facebook. "Danny was a huge force in our early years. His love for the Blues led him to being asked to join Fleetwood Mac in 1968, where he made his musical home for many years.

He continued, "Danny's true legacy, in my mind, will forever live on in the music he wrote and played so beautifully as a part of the foundation of Fleetwood Mac, that has now endured for over fifty years. Thank you, Danny Kirwan. You will forever be missed!"

Kirwan died on Friday, according the band's post.

The late musician was fired from Fleetwood Mac in 1972 after apparently becoming over-stressed with his duties in the band.

"It was a torment for him, really, to be up there, and it reduced him to someone who you just looked at and thought 'My God,'" Fleetwood told BBC in 1976. "It was more a thing of, although he was asked to leave, the way I was looking at it was, I hoped, it was almost putting him out of his agony."

Fleetwood later commented in the 1995 film Rock Family Trees: The Fleetwood Mac Story that he did not think Kirwan ever forgave him for the firing.

Kirwan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 as a member of Fleetwood Mac. He did not attend the induction ceremony and never reunited with the group in any form.

In a 2006 fan Q-and-A session, John McVie revealed that if the early Fleetwood Mac lineup ever reunited, he doubted Kirwan would be a part of it.

"If we could get Peter (Green) and Jeremy (Spencer) to do it, I'd probably, maybe, do it. I know Mick would do it in a flash," McVie said. "Unfortunately, I don't think there's much chance of Danny doing it. Bless his heart."

In that same interview, McVie opened up about Kirwan's skills and his unfortunate departure.

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"Danny was very young when he joined us. A very nice guy, Nervous and shy, but what a player!" McVie wrote. "He had a lot of insecurity that emerged over time. More so with success and pressure. We got along fine, as I recall. A few 'ups and downs' but that's in the nature of a band that was working and touring as much as we were. I haven't seen him in a very long time. I just get reports from Mick every now and again. What a tragedy and waste of talent."

No other details of Kirwan's passing are available at this time.