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Singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt dies at 45

December 25, 2009 |  8:03 pm

Vic Singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt died Friday afternoon in Athens, Ga., his record label has confirmed. He'd been in a coma; the cause of that coma has not been confirmed, but frequent collaborator Kristin Hersh said Thursday on Twitter that it had been a suicide attempt.

Chesnutt spoke with our friends at Pop & Hiss early in December. A paraplegic since a car accident when he was a teen, he was facing $70,000 in hospital bills, he said.

An excerpt from that interview: 

"I'm not too eloquent talking about these things," Chesnutt said. "I was making payments, but I can't anymore and I really have no idea what I'm going to do. It seems absurd they can charge this much. When I think about all this, it gets me so furious. I could die tomorrow because of other operations I need that I can't afford. I could die any day now, but I don't want to pay them another nickel."

Those feelings are deeply ingrained in "At the Cut," where almost every song offers at least a sideways glance at creeping mortality. Take, for instance, "Flirted With You All My Life," an incandescent country tune that's a kind of a breakup letter to Chesnutt's own thoughts of ending his life.

"I've been a suicidal person all my life, and that song is me finally being 'Screw you, death,' " Chesnutt said. 

A video of the haunting "Flirted With You All My Life" is embedded after the jump ...

Chesnutt, who was discovered by Michael Stipe of REM in the late 1980s, was 45. Our condolences go out to his family, friends and fans.

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo credit: Sandlin Gaither


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