Gary Wright, the singer known for his 1970s classic “Dream Weaver,” died Sept. 4, his son confirmed to NBC News. He was 80.
Wright’s death was due to Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia, Justin Wright said. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s six to seven years ago and was later diagnosed with dementia, the statement said.
A soft rock classic, “Dream Weaver,” from Wright’s album of the same name, was released in late 1975 and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976, helping to pave the way for the use synthesizers in pop music.
“Dream Weaver” also enjoyed a pop culture rebirth in the 1992 movie “Wayne’s World,” when Mike Myers’ Wayne first sees Tia Carrere’s Cassandra perform and becomes instantly smitten with her. The song was also featured in the films “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and “Toy Story 3.”
While “Dream Weaver” was Wright’s signature song, he also enjoyed success with “Love Is Alive,” which also went to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. He also released songs “Phantom Writer” and “Really Wanna Know You.” His last solo album was 2010’s “Connected.”
Wright also founded the band Spooky Tooth and played on all of The Beatles’ George Harrison’s solo albums, including his landmark 1970 release “All Things Must Pass.” He also frequently performed with Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band.
Gary Wright died of Lewy body dementia and Parkinson’s disease
Wright’s son confirmed his cause of death was due to Lewy body dementia and Parkinson’s disease, which are related conditions.
Lewy body dementia, one of the most common causes of dementia, occurs when a certain type of protein accumulates in the brain, leading to “problems with thinking, movement, behavior and mood,” according to the National Institute on Aging. Lewy body dementia was also actor Robin Williams’ cause of death.
Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia are related because people with Parkinson’s often have deposits in their brain of the same type of protein, according to Johns Hopkin’s Medicine. These deposits, called Lewy bodies, cause many of the mental and physical symptoms people with Parkinson’s experience, such as mood changes and difficulty with movement.
For both Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia, it’s generally a complication from the conditions that takes a person’s life, such as falling or pneumonia, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation, or immobility or swallowing issues, per Cleveland Clinic.