Depeche Mode reveals co-founder Andy Fletcher’s cause of death

A man wearing dark glasses and a jacket plays keyboards on stage
Andy Fletcher of the band Depeche Mode performs in concert during their Global Spirit Tour at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 7, 2017.
(Owen Sweeney / Invision / Associated Press)

Depeche Mode on Monday shared the cause of death for co-founder and keyboardist Andy Fletcher, who died last month.

Fletcher died at his home on May 26 at the age of 60. According to the band’s social media post Monday, Fletcher died of an aortic dissection, a tear in the wall of the body’s main artery that causes blood to rush through.

“We wanted to take a moment and acknowledge the outpouring of love for Andy that we’ve seen from all of you over the last few weeks,” the band wrote on Instagram. “It’s incredible to see all of your photos, to read your words, and to see how much Andy meant to all of you. As you can imagine, it’s been a strange, sad, disorienting few weeks for us here, to say the least. But we’ve seen and felt all of your love and support, and we know that Andy’s family has too.”

Fletcher helped define the sound of 1980s and ’90s alternative music through hits including ‘Just Can’t Get Enough,’ ‘Personal Jesus’ and ‘People Are People.’

May 26, 2022


“A couple weeks ago we received the result from the medical examiners, which Andy’s family asked us to share with you now,” the statement continued. “Andy suffered an aortic dissection while at home on May 26. So, even though it was far, far too soon, he passed naturally and without prolonged suffering.”

Fletcher, singer Dave Gahan and keyboardists Martin L. Gore and Vince Clarke founded Depeche Mode in 1980 in Basildon, England. The group became one of the most successful rock acts of its time. (Alan Wilder replaced Clarke in 1981.) Of his role in the group, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020, Fletcher humbly said: “Martin’s the songwriter, Alan’s the good musician, Dave’s the vocalist, and I bum around.”

During a 2013 interview with online magazine Electronic Beats, Fletcher described himself as “the tall guy in the background, without whom this international corporation called Depeche Mode would never work.”

More than a mere keyboardist in the band, Fletcher was an essential part of the studio team. For example, on “Walking in My Shoes,” from 1993’s “Songs of Faith and Devotion,” Fletcher pounded on a suitcase with a pole to get the proper percussion sound. He noted that one trait of synth-driven acts is a certain anonymity, which works great when you want to go to the movie theater but not when you want to be recognized as an artist.

“We had a celebration of Andy’s life in London last week, which was a beautiful ceremony and gathering with a few tears, but filled with the great memories of who Andy was, stories of all of our times together, and some good laughs,” Depeche Mode wrote in Monday’s statement. “Andy was celebrated in a room full of many of his friends and family, our immediate DM family, and so many people who have touched Andy’s and our lives throughout the years. All being together was a very special way to remember Andy and see him off.”

The last few weeks have been fairly historic ones for the Hollywood Bowl, for better and worse.

Oct. 13, 2017


“So thank you for all of the love you’ve shown Andy and his family and friends over the last few weeks,” the band added. “It honestly means the world to all of us. Andy, you’ll be missed, but certainly not forgotten. Love, Martin & Dave.”

Times staff writer Randall Roberts contributed to this report.