American musician with Jewish roots Marty Balin, haspassed away at the age of 76, his family confirmed. Balin was a founding member and vocalist of the celebrated psychedelic rock group Jefferson Airplane. 

“Marty and I shared the deepest love, we often called it Nirvana, and it was. But in reality, we were all touched by his love. His presence will be with me forever,” the wife said.

Born January 30, 1942 in Cincinnati, Ohio, under the name Martyn Jerel Buchwald. His father was Jewish and his mother was Christian Episcopalian. The musician was the founder and a pivotal part of Jefferson Airplane, one of the emblematic bands of psychedelia and Californian sound of the 1960s.

Formed in 1965, the group gained recognition in the United States two years later with the release of their second album, “Surrealistic Pillow” (1967), and songs such as “White Rabbit” and “Somebody To Love,” a hymn to the effervescent San Francisco scene, home of the “hippie” movement.

Balin recruited the other members of the group, guitarists Paul Kantner and Jorma Kaukonen, singer Signe Toly (later replaced by Grace Slick), bassist Bob Harvey and drummer Jerry Peloquin.

After the release of some of the group’s best hits, and participating in festivals emblematic of the time such as Woodstock, Monterey and Altamont, Balin left the group in 1978 and began a solo career in 1981.

The guitarist was part of the Jefferson Airplane’s reunion and tour in 1989, and stayed for another four years, before finally leaving the group altogether in 2008.

In 2016, the musician had heart surgery at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York and shortly thereafter filed a lawsuit with the medical center alleging that a failed surgical procedure ruined his career.

Twice married, the musician, who used to live in Tampa (Florida), is survived by his wife and two daughters Jennifer Edwards and Delaney Balin, as well as his two adopted daughters Rebekah Geier and Moriah Geier.