After news broke of her death in late 2022, the reason behind how Christine McVie died has been a mystery until now. The Fleetwood Mac keyboardist, songwriter and co-lead vocalist was 79 when she passed away on November 30, 2022, and the band mourned in a statement released to social media: “There are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine McVie. She was truly one-of-a-kind, special and talented beyond measure. She was the best musician anyone could have in their band and the best friend anyone could have in their life. We were so lucky to have a life with her. Individually and together, we cherished Christine deeply and are thankful for the amazing memories we have. She will be so very missed.”
McVie wrote many classic songs on Fleetwood Mac’s iconic 1976 album Rumors such as “You Make Loving Fun,” “Don’t Stop,” “Hold Me,” “Little Lies,” “Everywhere,” and “Over My Head.” She, along with the members of Fleetwood Mac, were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. McVie announced she was leaving the band shortly after the induction but returned in 2014 where she continued to perform with until her death.
How did Christine McVie die? Her death certificate, obtained by The Blast and published on April 3, 2023, revealed the influential Fleetwood Mac member died from an ischemic stroke, which is when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells begin to die in minutes, per the Mayo Clinic. It is the most common type of stroke. McVie had also been diagnosed with, “metastatic malignancy of unknown primary origin,” which means cancer had spread throughout her body and a primary source or tumor was not detected.
In a 2022 interview with Rolling Stone, McVie said she wasn’t feeling well enough to do a Rumors-lineup reunite for a grand farewell tour. “I don’t feel physically up for it,” she said. “I’m in quite bad health. I’ve got a chronic back problem which debilitates me. I stand up to play the piano, so I don’t know if I could actually physically do it. What’s that saying? The mind is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Couldn’t she just sit behind the keyboard and play? “I couldn’t sit at the rig I play,” she said. “You have to stand up to play the piano and the Hammond Organ is beneath that, so it’s a bit difficult to think about sitting down and doing it. Anyway, I wouldn’t want to do that… But I’m getting a bit long in the teeth here. I’m quite happy being at home. I don’t know if I ever want to tour again. It’s bloody hard work.”
Her health deteriorated further and in November 2022, her family issued a statement regarding her death: “On behalf of Christine McVie’s family, it is with a heavy heart we are informing you of Christine’s death. She passed away peacefully at hospital this morning, Wednesday, November 30th, 2022, following a short illness. She was in the company of her family. We kindly ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this extremely painful time, and we would like everyone to keep Christine in their hearts and remember the life of an incredible human being, and revered musician who was loved universally. RIP Christine McVie.”
McVie served as partial inspiration for Suki Waterhouse’s character, Karen Sirko, in Prime Video’s hit series Daisy Jones & The Six, which is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Karen and Graham Dunne’s relationship follows a similar trajectory as McVie’s and Fleetwood Mac’s John, who married in 1968 and divorced in 1976. “It was just a big fat yes for me,” Waterhouse told Bazaar.com in March 2023 of joining the cast. “It’s not very often where you get an audition and you see that one of your favorite books is being adapted into a TV show, Reese Witherspoon’s gonna produce it, you’re gonna have to go to band camp, learn your instruments, become a band, [and] travel back to the ‘70s in Los Angeles. I mean, I was a huge fan of every element of this project.”
She continued: “[Karen] was highly ambitious and so dedicated to her art and didn’t wanna have some of the conventional things that you would expect a woman to want in the ‘70s—I didn’t want that to mean that she couldn’t wear some fucking eyeliner,” Waterhouse said. “We wanted to keep her sharp and collected but I didn’t want her to not have a flair just because she was different.”
Daisy Jones and the Six is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. Here’s how to watch it for free.
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