'Two Tickets to Paradise' Singer Eddie Money Dies at 70

Eddie Money, classic rock star of the '70s and '80s, died this Friday (Sept. 13). Variety first reported the news from the singer-songwriter -- who had been diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer earlier this year -- citing a statement from his family that Money "passed away peacefully early this morning." He was 70. 

A New York native, Money moved to California in the late '60s, becoming a presence in the Bay Area live scene. Attracting the attention of Columbia Records, Money released his self-titled debut on the label in 1977. The set would spawn two top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 that would go on to be signature songs for Money --  the escapist "Two Tickets to Paradise" and the soaring "Baby Hold On" -- and would eventually be certified double-Platinum by the RIAA. 

Money continued to release hit albums and singles into the '80s, with 1979's Life For the Taking and 1982's No Control following his debut to Platinum status. A brief dip in popularity in the mid-'80s was followed with the release of Money's biggest Hot 100 hit, 1986's "Take Me Home Tonight." The single -- which featured '60s pop legend Ronnie Spector, and borrowed the iconic hook and drum beat from her own biggest smash with The Ronettes, "Be My Baby" -- peaked at No. 4, while its striking black and white video established Money as an MTV star as well as a radio one. 

Chart success continued for the remainder of the '80s, as Money scored further hits with "I Wanna Go Back" (No. 14, 1987), "Endless Nights" (No. 24, 1987) "Walk on Water" (No. 9, 1988) and "The Love in Your Eyes" (No. 24, 1989). Money's final top 20 entry came in 1990 with the greatest hits single "Peace in Our Time," as he faded from the mainstream with the rise of alternative rock in the '90s. From this period into the 21st century, Money became a regular presence on classic rock radio, and remained a touring attraction, while his songs appeared in a variety of commercials, TV shows and movies -- with "Take Me Home Tonight" even providing the title of a 2011 retro comedy set in 1988. 

Money proved a particularly engaging interview in later years, with a recent Rolling Stone Q&A even proclaiming him "Rock's Rodney Dangerfield." His presence made him a natural fit on reality TV, starring in the AXS family show Real Money in 2018 -- on which Money's recent health struggles were revealed. The rocker's final album, Brand New Day, was scheduled for release this July, but delayed after the singer was forced to undergo a heart valve procedure earlier that month, which reportedly led to him developing pneumonia. 

The full statement from Money's family reads: 

The Money Family regrets to announce that Eddie passed away peacefully early this morning. It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our loving husband and father. We cannot imagine our world without him. We are grateful that he will live on forever through his music.