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Don Van Vliet dies at 69; avant-garde rock musician known as Captain Beefheart
Don Van Vliet dies at 69; avant-garde rock musician known as Captain Beefheart

Don Van Vliet, a maverick musician who emerged from the Southern California desert with the name Captain Beefheart and a singular and influential form of avant-garde rock in the 1960s, died Friday. He was 69. Van Vliet, who retreated to a reclusive life as an abstract painter in the early 1980s, died from complications of multiple sclerosis at a hospital near his home in Trinidad in Northern California, said a spokeswoman for the Michael Werner Gallery, his New York-based art dealer. Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band never sold many records, but their work was critically acclaimed, especially the epic, surreal 1969 album "Trout Mask Replica," which was ranked No. 58 on Rolling...

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