Musician Vic Chesnutt dead at 45

Dec. 28, 2009 at 10:23 AM
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ATHENS, Ga., Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt has died in an Athens, Ga. hospital after taking an overdose of muscle relaxants, said a family spokesman. He was 45.

Chesnutt, who had been in a coma since he overdosed on the medication last week, died Dec. 25, The New York Times said Monday.

The Florida native was left partially paralyzed after a drunken driving accident when he was 18. Performing in a wheelchair, he recorded more than 15 albums. Among his songs are "Speed Racer" and "Flirted with You All My Life."

Chesnutt was the focus of the PBS documentary "Speed Racer" and Madonna, R.E.M. and Live performed cover versions of some of his songs for the album "Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation," which raised money for the Sweet Relief Fund, which helps pay for medical care for musicians in need.

The Times noted Chesnutt frequently wrote, spoke and sang about suicide, which he has attempted several times throughout the years. The musician also said in a recent interview that expensive surgical procedures have left him deep in debt.

Chesnutt is survived by his wife, Tina Whatley Chesnutt; a sister, Lorinda Crane; and nine nieces and nephews, the newspaper said.

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