Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell was found dead early this morning (Nov. 12) in a Portland, Ore., hotel room, according to representatives for the Hendrix estate. He was 62.
After completing the Experience Hendrix tour in Portland with one-time bandmate Billy Cox and a host of notable musicians on Nov. 7, Mitchell was spending some down time in the city before returning to his native England. He likely died of natural causes, according to the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s office.
“We’re all devastated to hear of Mitch’s passing,” says Experience Hendrix CEO Janie Hendrix. “He was a wonderful man, a brilliant musician and a true friend. His role in shaping the sound of the Jimi Hendrix Experience cannot be underestimated.”
Mitchell joined the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1966, and with late bassist Noel Redding, staffed the formidable rhythm section supporting Hendrix’s era-defining guitar work. He remained with Hendrix through the Experience’s first breakup in mid-1969, playing with him during the artist’s iconic Woodstock performance.
By year’s end, Hendrix had formed Band Of Gypsys with bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles, although that band split in early 1970, giving way to a brief reunion of the original Experience. Hendrix died on Sept. 18, 1970, before his future plans could be made clear.
Afterward, Mitchell helped producer Eddie Kramer assemble the albums “Cry of Love” and “Rainbow Bridge,” featuring unfinished Hendrix material. He played occasional gigs with Terry Reid, Jeff Bruce and Jeff Beck, but he rarely recorded as his career went on.
Mitchell artist got his start in show business as a child actor on the TV series “Jennings At School.” He is survived by his mother, his wife, a daughter and two grandchildren.