Kevin Garcia, one of the founding members of Modesto-based alt-rock group Grandaddy, has died.
The group’s longtime bassist, Garcia died Tuesday from a stroke. He was 41. Band members announced his passing in a Facebook post Tuesday evening, saying they were “shattered” by his loss. Garcia suffered a massive stroke, which was described as “catastrophic,” on Monday and was admitted to Doctors Medical Center, where he died.
“We were all able to say goodbye to him and he was surrounded by his closest friends and family here in Modesto,” his bandmates wrote on Facebook. “Kevin started playing with Grandaddy when he was fifteen. He was an actual angel. He navigated life with a grace, a generosity and a kindness that was utterly unique. And contagious. He is loved so deeply by so many.”
Grandaddy was formed in Modesto in 1992 by friends Garcia, frontman Jason Lytle and drummer Aaron Burtch. Guitarist Jim Fairchild and keyboardist Tim Dryden joined in 1995, rounding out the group’s continuous and current lineup.
Garcia was a graduate of Downey High. In their Facebook post, band members paid homage to Garcia’s family, particularly his parents, who let the group practice at their Modesto house until 2001. Garcia is survived his children, Jayden and Gavin; wife, Sondra; parents, Randy and Barbara; brothers, Craig and Jeff; and grandmother, Joan.
Grandaddy gained international acclaim with the release of its first full-length album, “Under the Western Freeway,” in 1997. The group built a loyal cult following with the release of subsequent albums “The Sophtware Slump” in 2000, “Sumday” in 2003 and “Just Like the Fambly Cat” in 2006.
But then the band broke up in 2006. While most of its members remained in the Modesto area, Lytle moved away and worked on solo and producing projects. The group briefly reunited in 2012 for a limited series of shows in California and Europe. Then last year it came back together again, with Lytle moving back to Modesto, and began playing live together, including a reunion show at downtown Modesto’s Prospect Theater Project last August.
In March, Grandaddy released its first new album in over a decade, “Last Place.” The band toured behind the project in the United Kingdom this spring and was set to begin a string of dates this weekend across California, the Pacific Northwest and Europe lasting through July.
The group has not yet made an announcement regarding upcoming shows.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help Garcia’s family. The campaign has raised close to $8,000 of its $10,000 goal. The campaign page describes Garcia’s “kindness and generosity” that was offered “without hesitation.”
The Grandaddy post promises more comment from the group in the days ahead, and says the four bandmates are grieving together.