TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. — Michael Clarke, the original drummer for the influential rock band the Byrds, has died from liver failure at his condominium here. He was 49.
Clarke was scheduled to perform on New Year's Eve at a resort here with his band, Michael Clarke's Byrds. The concert will now be a tribute to the drummer, said the show's organizer, Billy Moore.
Moore said the death occurred Sunday and that Clarke had realized recently that his liver problems were terminal.
Clarke was born June 3, 1944, in New York City. He was 19 and a jazz drummer when he met David Crosby while hitchhiking in California. Clarke eventually joined Crosby, lead guitarist Roger McGuinn, bassist Chris Hillman and vocalist Gene Clark in a collaboration that became the Byrds in 1964.
The group coined the British-influenced beat that became known as folk rock and later influenced such modern bands as R.E.M. and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.