Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, dies at age 69

captain-beefheart.jpgAvant-garde rock pioneer Captain Beefheart, also known as Don Van Vliet, died Friday (Dec. 17).

Van Vliet, 69, died early Friday at a Northern California hospital, EW reports. He had been suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band never had a hit in the United States (a couple of the band's albums reached the top 25 in the U.K.), but his influence runs deep in rock 'n' roll. Artists ranging from John Lennon to Beck to PJ Harvey have sung Captain Beefheart's praises and covered his music.

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