NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Thursday, January 28, 2016, 9:10 PM
Guitarist Paul Kantner of the band “Jefferson Starship” died Thursday at 74.
Paul Kantner, a founding member and singer-guitarist of Jefferson Airplane, died on Thursday.
The San Francisco native was 74 and died of multiple organ failure and septic shock after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week, his publicist and friend Cynthia Bowman said in a statement.
The iconic rocker, who later founded spin-off band Jefferson Starship, helped pioneer the city’s sound in the mid ’60s with psychedelic hits like “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.”
“Our condolences go out to the friends, family and fans of Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane on the news of his passing,” the Doors wrote on their Facebook page.
“Music would not be the same without the sounds of The Doors and Jefferson Airplane, which both contributed so heavily to the signature sound of the sixties and seventies,” they continued.
Kantner helped form Jefferson Airplane in 1965 and the group had five albums that went gold. They went on to play in landmark events, such as Woodstock and the Altamont Speedway Free Festival with the Rolling Stones in 1969.
Despite the success, the band suffered from internal fighting and a string of changes.
During the turmoil, Kantner released “Blows Agasinst the Empire,” a solo album with the band’s singer Grace Slick. The record was nominated for a Hugo Award and was credited to Jefferson Starship.
Jefferson Airplane eventually split in 1972 and Kantner went on to form Jefferson Starship with Slick.
His new group scored hits like “We Built This City” “Miracles” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” and achieved a double platinue record with “Red Octopus” in 1975.
Kantner quit the group in 1984 but came back in 1992. He continued to perform and record with them until his death.
Jefferson Airplane reunited in 1989 for a final album and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
The band is also being honored this year by the Recording Academy with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
“The music community has lost a true icon, and we share our deepest condolences with Paul’s family and friends, and with those who had the privilege of collaborating with him,” the Academy’s President Neil Portnow said in a statement.
Kanter was a member of Jefferson Airplane, until the band split. He then formed Jefferson Starship.
Reports first surfaced of Kantner’s health problems in March 2015, when he suffered a heart attack.
His death comes after a month of deaths that rocked the music community, including David Bowie and Glenn Frey of the Eagles.
Kantner was born in 1941, the son of a traveling salesman and once said he escaped his mother’s early death through music.
He is suvived by his three children, Gareth, Alexander and China.