Christine McVie, the British-born Fleetwood Mac singer, lyricist, and keyboardist whose calm, soulful contralto helped define such songs as You Make Loving Fun, Everywhere, and Don’t Stop, passed away at age 79.

The band posted a notice of her passing on their social media platforms. She “went away quietly at hospital this morning” with family by her side, according to a family statement, after a “brief illness,” though no cause of death or other information was immediately given.

In a band notorious for its numerous lineup changes and erratic personalities, particularly that of fellow singer-songwriters Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, McVie was a constant presence and personality.

With the combined abilities of McVie, Nicks, and Buckingham, plus the rhythm unit of founder Mick Fleetwood on drums and John McVie on bass, Fleetwood Mac began as a London blues band in the 1960s and developed into one of the key creators of California pop-rock in the 1970s.

The band was a constant source of curiosity for fans during its most successful commercial years, from 1975 to 1980, when it sold tens of millions of records and turned its own struggles into catchy, appealing songs. The 1977 album Rumours, one of the best-selling albums of all time, famously detailed McVie’s divorce from John McVie as well as the separations of Nicks and Buckingham.

In 1998, Fleetwood Mac was given a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Many other hit singles by the group included Nicks’ Dreams, Go Your Own Way by Buckingham, and Little Lies by McVie. The reflective ballad Songbird, one of McVie’s most well-known compositions, served as a showcase for her live performances and was covered by Willie Nelson among others.

McVie, who was born Christine Perfect in Bouth, Lancashire, had studied classical piano as a child but abandoned it after hearing the early rock music of artists like Fats Domino.

She became friends with several members of Britain’s budding blues movement while attending the Moseley School of Art, and in her 20s she became a vocalist and pianist for the band Chicken Shack. She was a fan of Fleetwood Mac, a competitor band that at the time boasted the skills of blues guitarist Peter Green in addition to the rhythm unit of Fleetwood and McVie. She joined the band in 1970 and later wed John McVie.

Few bands overcame such adversity to achieve such much success as Fleetwood Mac. Fleetwood Mac lost a number of members, including Green, and at various points the band appeared to be breaking up or fading away. Buckingham was just fired, and Mike Campbell and Neil Finn took his place on tour.

McVie herself departed for several years until making a final comeback


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