Pegi Young, the American singer-songwriter and ex-wife of Neil Young has passed away at 66-years-old.
The musician died on New Year’s Day after a yearlong battle with cancer, according to a statement posted on Pegi’s Facebook page. She was “surrounded by her friends and family in her native California” when she passed.
“We request that the families’ privacy be respected at this time,” the statement continued.
Pegi is survived by her children with Neil — son Ben, and daughter Amber — as well as her ex-stepson Zeke and two grandchildren.
In a statement released on his Neil Young Archives website, Neil Young broke his silence on his ex-wife’s death, issued a touching tribute quoting the lyrics to his 1992 hit “Harvest Moon”.
“You are such a woman to me / And I love you / Our love will live / Until the end of time,” Young wrote in the song. “No one else can kill me like you do / No one else can fill me like you do / And no, no one else can feel our pain / Love is a healer / And I love you.”
He added: “Thanks Pegi, for being such a wonderful mother to our children. You live inside of them and the many you have touched.”
Her music career started in 1983 as a member of The Pinkettes, the backing vocalists for her then-husband Neil’s Rock-a-Billy Shocking Pinks tour. She continued to sing backup for her husband, including a performance at the Academy Awards in 1994, until 2007, when she released her self-titled debut album.
Pegi went on to release four more albums, including 2017’s Raw, which was recorded following her divorce from Neil in 2014 after 36-years of marriage. She also toured and performed with her band The Survivors.
However, the majority of her time was spent focused on the Bridge School, an educational program she founded with Neil in 1986, aimied at helping children with severe physical and speech impairments.
“It’s grown way behind my expectations,” Pegi said in 2017 (via Billboard). ”I really didn’t know what to expect, but the global impact that we’re having… We’ve had people that come from different countries around the world and they come and mentor at the Bridge School for a year and get different opportunities for ongoing professional development and then go back to their countries and begin to affect change there.”