Gared O’Donnell, the singer and guitarist for post-hardcore band Planes Mistaken for Stars, has died aged 44.
News of the musician’s death was announced by his band via their Instagram page. In August last year, O’Donnell told fans he had been diagnosed with Stage 3 oesophageal cancer. In a statement and GoFundMe campaign that coincided with O’Donnell’s announcement, the band’s manager said the cancer was inoperable.
O’Donnell continued to be open with fans about his illness, regularly posting updates from the band’s Instagram page.
“It is impossible to express the depth of sorrow in which we must announce that Gared O’Donnell, our brother, our leader, our captain, who has done more to cultivate love and light in this world than any of us can understand, has moved on from his physical form here with us and crossed the rainbow bridge into the eternal ether,” the band’s statement read.
“In his final days/hours, he was surrounded by the love of his family, his friends, his bandmates, and many others from afar.”
The band referred to O’Donnell as “a titan” and “a beacon”. He co-founded Planes Mistaken for Stars in 1997 in Peoria, Illinois, with guitarist Mat Bellenger, drummer Mike Ricketts and bassist Aaron Wise.
The band relocated to Denver, Colorado, following the release of their self-titled EP. Their debut album, F*** with Fire, was released in 2001 and followed by Up in Them Guts in 2004.
“His passion was infectious drawing us all to him and to each other,” the band’s statement said. “The family we have is vast because of Gared. Through the sheer force of his will, he helped to sculpt the reality we all inhabit. His impact on us all will never die.”
They recalled how, at the end of every Planes show, O’Donnell urged them all to take care of each other.
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“It was a plea for us all to open our hearts and see everyone for what they are, our brothers and sisters. A plea for us to appreciate every heart wrenching, beautiful, and terrifying moment life has to offer,” they said.
The band revealed they are planning to bring the final projects O’Donnell worked on to their fans. “It is heartbreaking to do this without him, but we know that he would want for us to complete what we had started together,” they said.
“We will do our absolute best to honour his legacy and spread word of the legend that he embodied.”