28 Years Ago: Stevie Ray Vaughan Dies In A Helicopter Accident

August 27, 2018

On August 27th, 1990, the music world was dealt a devastating blow when blues-rock artist Stevie Ray Vaughan died in an unfortunate helicopter crash in East Troy, WI at the age of 35. Witnesses said that because of the early morning fog, it would have made navigating through the ski resort nearly impossible. Sadly, Vaughan, the pilot, and the other passengers onboard died instantly.

In a bizarre coincidence, one of his bandmates said that the night before the crash, Vaughan described to them that he had a dream of himself attending his own funeral. That night, Vaughan had also performed with guitar legend Eric Clapton. Part of Clapton's entourage was also in the same helicopter, so the horrific task fell on both Eric Clapton and Vaughan's older brother Jimmie Vaughan to identify his remains; a moment that still follows him to this day.

"He was my little brother. Anybody who has a little brother or a little sister knows what that means. I know he was a great musician, and I know people love his music and think about him that way, but I miss my little brother," Vaughan said at his brother's induction into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. "I'll never get over it. The whole thing doesn't seem real."

Though Stevie Ray Vaughan will go down in history as one of the greatest artists to enter the rock world, like many before him, he wasn't without his vices as well: alcohol. Vaughan admitted that he began drinking as early as six-years-old when he sneak take alcohol from his father, and then would later bring in cocaine in his adult years.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Vaughan entered rehab in 1986, and when he became sober, he found himself feeling very anxious before going out on stage. Vaughan's passion for music overshadowed his fears, which lead to him writing some of his best work.

Released after his death in 1991, Vaughan's album Family Style would go on to win his third Grammy.