Nashville singer-songwriter David Olney died during his January 18 performance at the 30A Songwriters Festival in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. He was 71.
During the set, the musician apologized to the audience at one point, closed his eyes, and died of an apparent heart attack. A doctor in the audience assisted in an effort to revive him, but the musician did not respond.
Amy Rigby, an artist who was performing alongside Olney, shared the news through her social channels, writing:
“David Olney, a beautiful man, a legend, a songwriting poet died last night. I was sitting next to him in the round, had been so honored and looking forward to getting to trade songs with him and Scott Miller.
“Olney was in the middle of his third song when he stopped, apologized and shut his eyes.
“He was very still, sitting upright with his guitar on, wearing the coolest hat and a beautiful rust suede jacket we laughed about because it was raining like hell outside the boathouse where we were playing – I just want the picture to be as graceful and dignified as it was, because it at first looked like he was just taking a moment.
“Scott Miller had the presence of mind to say we needed to revive him. Doctors in the audience and 30A folks were all working so hard to get him to come to. It’s hard to post about this because I can’t really believe he’s gone.
“I am so sorry for his wife and family and friends and all the people who loved him and his music. Even those who never heard of him. We all lost someone important last night.”