Marty Balin, Founding Member of Jefferson Airplane & Jefferson Starship, Dies at 76

Marty Balin
Michael Putland/Getty Images

Marty Balin performs in New York City on Sept. 1978. 

Marty Balin, who was best known as the guitarist and lead vocalist of Jefferson Airplane and the songwriter for Jefferson Starship, died on Thursday (Sept. 27), Billboard has confirmed though the cause of death is still unknown. He was 76.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Grammy Lifetime Award recipient co-wrote five songs on Jefferson Airplane's breakthrough album Surrealistic Pillow. He wrote some of the group's biggest tunes such as “It’s No Secret,” “Today,” “Comin’ Back To Me,” “Plastic Fantastic Lover,” “Share a Little Joke” and “Volunteers.” The San Francisco Bay Area artist quit the group about a year later and joined Jefferson Starship in 1974. In 1978, he launched a solo career before returning to Jefferson Starship from 2004 to 2008.

"Marty and I shared the deepest of love—he often called it Nirvana—and it was," Balin's wife Susan said in a statement. "But really, we were all touched by his love. His presence will be within my entire being forever."

Balin is survived by his wife, daughters Jennifer Edwards and Delaney Balin, and stepdaughters Rebekah Geier and Moriah Geier.