Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie Dead at 79 Following 'Short Illness'

Christine McVie, whose bluesy vocals and keyboards helped provide the signature sound of the influential rock band Fleetwood Mac, died on Wednesday after a brief illness. She was 79.

The musician's family announced her death on social media, writing that she died at the hospital "following a short illness," surrounded by her family.

"On behalf of Christine McVie's family, it is with a heavy heart we are informing you of Christine's death," the statement read. "She passed away peacefully at hospital this morning, Wednesday, November 30th, 2022, following a short illness. She was in the company of her family. We kindly ask that you respect the family's privacy at this extremely painful time, and we would like everyone to keep Christine in their hearts and remember the life of an incredible human being, and revered musician who was loved universally."

Fleetwood Mac, with whom McVie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, also paid tribute to the star, writing there were "no words to describe our sadness" following her death.

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"She was truly one-of-a-kind, special and talented beyond measure," the rockers wrote in a social media statement. "She was the best musician anyone could have in their band and the best friend anyone could have in their life. We were so lucky to have a life with her. Individually and together, we cherished Christine deeply and are thankful for the amazing memories we have. She will be so very missed."

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McVie, who sang on classic hits like "Everywhere" and "You Make Loving Fun," joined Fleetwood Mac in 1970, and played alongside her then-husband John McVie.

English singer, songwriter and keyboardist Christine McVie, UK, 13th June 1980.
English singer, songwriter and keyboardist Christine McVie, UK, 13th June 1980.

Davidson/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Christine McVie

She told Rolling Stone last year that while a band reunion was still up in the air, she didn't feel "physically up for" one final tour.

"I'm in quite bad health. I've got a chronic back problem which debilitates me. I stand up to play the piano, so I don't know if I could actually physically do it. What's that saying? The mind is willing, but the flesh is weak," she said. "I'm quite happy being at home. I don't know if I ever want to tour again. It's bloody hard work… I'll just leave it open and say that we might."

Honoree Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac performs onstage during MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Fleetwood Mac at Radio City Music Hall on January 26, 2018 in New York City.
Honoree Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac performs onstage during MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Fleetwood Mac at Radio City Music Hall on January 26, 2018 in New York City.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Christine McVie

McVie was born into a musical family in the British village of Bouth in July 1943. Dad Cyril was a concert violinist and music lecturer at a local school, while her grandfather played the organ in Westminster Abbey.

Though she attended art college in Birmingham, she became a musician by the late 1960s, and joined the blues band Chicken Shack as a pianist. In 1968, she married Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie, and eventually joined the band herself two years later.

Starting with Future Games in 1971, McVie became a vital influence on Fleetwood Mac's sound, with her soulful vocals (she eventually shared lead singing duties with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham) and keyboards. She sang lead on more Fleetwood Mac hits than Nicks or Buckingham.

Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, John McVie.
Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, John McVie.

GAB Archive/Redferns Fleetwood Mac in 1975

The band's seminal 1977 album Rumours, one of the best-selling records of all time, included the McVie contributions "Don't Stop," "Songbird," "Oh Daddy" and "You Make Loving Fun," said to be about her affair with the band's lighting director.

Though the album was written amid emotional turmoil for the band, McVie told Rolling Stone in June that while she "didn't realize it at the time," she was something of a rock amid the drama.

"I was supposedly like the Mother Teresa who would hang out with everybody or just try and [keep] everything nice and cool and relaxed," she recalled. "But they were great people; they were great friends... Even though I am quite a peaceful person, I did enjoy that storm. Although it's said that we fought a lot, we actually did spend a lot of our time laughing."

McVie and John divorced in 1976, but remained friendly bandmates. Though she continued recording with Fleetwood Mac through the years and amid a rotating line-up, she released three solo albums over the years, including a self-titled record in 1984 that peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard 200.

Fleetwood Mac (Christine McVie) performs at the Met Center in Bloomington, Minnesota on June 30, 1990.
Fleetwood Mac (Christine McVie) performs at the Met Center in Bloomington, Minnesota on June 30, 1990.

Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Christine McVie in 1990

The star married keyboardist Eddy Quintela in 1986 (they divorced in 2003), and eventually re-joined the classic Fleetwood Mac lineup (which also included John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks) for the live album The Dance, which topped the charts upon its release in 1997.

Though McVie took a 15-year break from the band in the early 2000s, she officially re-joined in 2014, and with them embarked on several lengthy tours in recent years. She and Buckingham also released a collaborative album in 2017.

"I think I followed my map pretty well in the course of my life.… To be honest with you, I don't think I gave myself any advice," she told Rolling Stone in June. "I think I just kind of got on with what I was doing and thoroughly enjoyed it. Obviously, my best beautiful days were when we were the Buckingham-Nicks Fleetwood Mac version. That was the best to me."