“Fare you well”: Dead & Company members pay tribute to basketball legend Bill Walton

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Basketball legend and sportscaster Bill Walton died Monday at the age of 71, and he was remembered by some of his closest friends: the members of Dead & Company.

Walton was a Grateful Dead superfan and, at 6 feet, 11 inches tall, likely one of the “biggest” Deadheads ever. Dead & Company wrote on Instagram, “Fare you well, fare you well, we love you more than words can tell. Bill was an irreplaceable force and spirit in our family. Father Time, Rhythm Devil, biggest deadhead ever.”

“Over 1000 shows and couldn’t get enough. He loved this band and we loved him,” they continued. “We will miss our beloved friend, @BillWalton, deeply. Rest in peace and may the four winds blow you safely home.”

Dead & Company’s Bob Weir posted a separate tribute, writing, “Yo Bill, thanks for the ride. Thanks for the wonderful friendship, the years of color commentary – and the Hal of Fame existence that you wore like headlights. Bon voyage ol’ buddy. We’re sure gonna miss you – but don’t let that slow you down.”

Drummer Mickey Hart wrote, “Bill was my best friend, the best friend I ever had. He was an amazing person, singular, irreplaceable, giving, loving. His love for our music was beyond description … He was the biggest Deadhead in the world and used our music as the soundtrack to his life … Bon voyage, old friend, I love you.”

Drummer/percussionist Bill Kreutzmann also paid tribute to Walton, writing in part, “Bill was a genuine fan that became a genuine friend … his towering presence was more than just literal. Whenever I play, there will now always be a hole where a seat should be, about ten rows back, center, where Bill used to stand, eyes closed, arms raised, while he felt the music running through him … I loved Bill Walton.”

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