Yonder Mountain String Band Co-Founder Jeff Austin Dead at 45
Jeff Austin, who co-founded the bluegrass and jam band Yonder Mountain String Band, has died. According to multiple reports, the musician died on Monday (June 24), just two days after canceling a string of upcoming shows.
***Austin was scheduled to perform at ROMP Friday night with The Travelin' McCourys. Larry Keel of The Larry Keel Experience will be performing in Austin's place***
A statement on Austin's social media pages confirmed his death, writing, "It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of a beloved family member, mandolinist, singer, songwriter and founder of The Jeff Austin Band, and Yonder Mountain String Band, Jeff Austin. Austin passed away June 24, 2019 in Seattle, Washington."
Austin was a Chicago native who attended college at the University of Cincinnati. He then moved to Colorado with his friend and bandmate, David Johnston. They co-founded Yonder Mountain String Band in 1998, adding Ben Kaufman and Adam Aijala. Austin played with the group until 2014, when he departed to pursue a solo career.
He formed the Jeff Austin Band after leaving Yonder Mountain String Band, and had been touring with that group at the time of his death. He announced via Facebook on Saturday (June 22) that he would have to cancel several upcoming performances due to a "medical emergency," adding, "Thanks for your understanding and continued support."
Austin's cause of death has not been disclosed.
Yonder Mountain String Band turned to Facebook to issue a statement after Austin's death, writing, "We are saddened to report that we have lost our brother Jeff Austin. Remembering the incredible times and magical moments puts us at a profound loss for words. While we honor his memory, we will continue to pray for his family and for the journey they now face without him."
Austin is survived by his wife, Devlyn, and three children; 12-year-old Lily Rose, 5-year-old Penelope and Jude Patrick, 2. A fund has been established to help them with expenses.
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