Mars Williams, the lifelong jazz saxophonist who played in the Psychedelic Furs and the Waitresses, has died.
He died on November 20, 2023, at the age of 68, surrounded by his family and friends.
Mars Williams Cause of death
Mars Williams died from ampullary cancer, a rare cancer affecting the area around the small intestine, after being diagnosed almost a year ago.
His death was confirmed by his family on the musician’s GoFundMe page.
“Until the end, Mars’ inexhaustible humor and energy, and his love for music, pushed him forward,” Williams’ family wrote in a statement.
“As it became clear in late summer that his treatment options were coming to an end, he chose to spend six weeks of the time he had left living as he had since he was a teenager – out on the road performing night after night.
Those last performances with the Psychedelic Furs will live on with all of the other incredible contributions that Mars has made as a person, and as a musician, and that boundless energy will continue to inspire.”
He is survived by his brother, James Spellos. The family is planning an online memorial for him, but details are not yet available.
Who was Mars Williams?
Williams was born “Marc” Williams on May 29, 1955 in Elmhurst and remained in Illinois for most of his life. He became Mars Williams during the 1970s as he tried to break into the live rock music scene in New York City.
During the early 1980s, Williams was a member of the American band The Waitresses before becoming the longest-serving member of the British band The Psychedelic Furs. Williams played with The Psychedelic Furs during the late 1980s before reuniting with the band again in 2005 and playing until his death.
“Mars Williams is one of the true saxophone players — someone who takes pleasure in the sheer act of blowing the horn and there are not many saxophone players I can truthfully say this about,” musician John Zorn wrote in the liner notes to Williams’ 1984 duo album Eftsoons.
“Whatever the situation, Mars plays exciting music. In many ways, he has succeeded in redefining what versatility means to the modern saxophone player,” Zorn added.
Williams jazz moved into funk with the group Liquid Soul in the 1990s which garnered a Grammy nomination in 2001. The band was a favorite of the Chicago Bulls and also played at former President Bill Clinton’s second inauguration.
While Williams performed with Billy Idol, Billy Squier, the Power Station and Ministry, he often played solo in Chicago’s improvisational jazz underground scene and as a member of the quartet Extraordinary Popular Delusions.
Following his cancer diagnosis last year, a GoFundMe page was set up in June to help with medical costs. The fundraiser exceeded $100,000, but as of Monday night organizer and fellow saxophonist Dave Rempis had disabled new donations.
An upcoming benefit show at Chicago’s Metro on Nov. 25, which was scheduled to raise money for Williams’ cancer treatment, will now celebrate his life.
“Until the end, Mars’ inexhaustible humor and energy, and his love for music, pushed him forward. As it became clear in late summer that his treatment options were coming to an end, he chose to spend six weeks of the time he had left living as he had since he was a teenager — out on the road performing night after night,” Rempis wrote Monday.
“Those last performances with The Psychedelic Furs will live on with all of the other incredible contributions that Mars has made as a person, and as a musician, and that boundless energy will continue to inspire.”
Mars Williams Age
Mars Williams was 68 years old when he died on November 20, 2023. He was born on May 29, 1955.
Mars Williams Wife
Mars Williams was married and had a wife, however, the identity of his partner is undisclosed.
Mars Williams Children
It remains uncertain whether Mars Williams had any children at the time of his death
Mars Williams Net worth
The net worth of Mars Williams is estimated to be between $100,000 and $5 million as of 2023.
He earned his money from being a professional saxophonist who played with various rock and jazz bands, such as The Waitresses, The Psychedelic Furs, Liquid Soul, and NRG Ensemble.
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