The news was originally released in a statement via the Big Brother and the Holding Company Facebook page that read, "Yesterday, ten weeks after his heart attack and the open-heart surgery that followed it, Sam lost his gallant fight to hold onto the life he lived so well. He died peacefully in Elise's arms at 5:15 pm. There will be much more to say about him in the days to come and there will come a time when we will gather together to remember him. Now is a time for Elise to regather her strength after the long vigil she has kept and the vital role she played in overseeing Sam's care. For now we can all remember him in our own ways until we can remember him together. He lived his life in music and art and a loving marriage. It doesn't get much better than that."
Andrew founded Big Brother and the Holding Company with Peter Albin in 1965 and were soon joined by guitarist James Gurley, drummer Chuck Jones (later displaced by David Getz) and eventually Janis Joplin. Andrew was a consistent writer with the group, and contributed songs including "Call on Me" and "Combination of the Two".