Former teen idol David Cassidy dies aged 67
DAVID Cassidy, the former teen idol who took the world by storm in the 1970s as the star of TV's The Patridge Family, has died at the age of 67.
Cassidy, 67, who rose to fame in the 1970s television program The Partridge Family, was being treated for organ failure at a Fort Lauderdale, Florida hospital.
His publicist JoAnn Geffen released a statement from his family. "On behalf of the entire Cassidy family, it is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our father, our uncle, and our dear brother, David Cassidy.
"David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long. Thank you for the abundance and support you have shown him these many years."
The former teen heart throb was rushed to hospital on November 16, requiring a liver transplant following a tumultuous few years.
He was also said to be suffering from kidney failure, a source confirmed. Cassidy told People magazine in February he had has been suffering from dementia.
He said his grandfather and mother had also suffered from the disease and that he had decided to stop touring as a musician to concentrate on his health and happiness.
"I want to focus on what I am, who I am and how I've been without any distractions," he said.
"I want to love. I want to enjoy life." The news of his dementia came days after Cassidy struggled to remember song lyrics at a performance in California.
He had a turbulent personal life in recent years, including divorcing his third wife in 2014, filing for bankruptcy and being charged with drink-driving three times between 2010 and 2014.
Cassidy rose to fame in the early 1970s through the musical sitcom The Partridge Family, where he played the eldest of five siblings who embarked upon a musical career together.
The success of the show spawned group and solo albums and sparked 'Cassidymania', with hordes of young fans buying lunch boxes, pillowcases, bubblegum and other items adorned with Cassidy's image.
A SON OF SHOWBUSINESS
Born into a showbiz family in New York City on April 12, 1950, Cassidy was the son of singer and actor Jack Cassidy and actor Evelyn Ward.
After his parents divorced, his father married actor Shirley Jones, who went on to play Cassidy's TV mother in The Patridge Family.
Cassidy was mainly raised by his maternal grandparents, who he later said provided him with a "strong, positive, loving foundation".
His relationship with his father, who he likened to a "boot camp sergeant" was less harmonious, Cassidy told The Guardian in 2012.
"He didn't take it at all well when I became this very famous guy," Cassidy said.
"His ego found it really difficult. For the first years of The Partridge Family he was Mr Shirley Jones, and then he was David Cassidy's dad. They divorced, and he resented the hell out of me. All I wanted was for him to put his arm round me and say he was proud of me. I never got that."
In the same interview, Cassidy revealed his then 89-year-old mother had been diagnosed with dementia, a condition that would later affect him.
Her decline, he said, was "terribly painful to watch".
With entertainment in Cassidy's blood, it wasn't long before Hollywood beckoned and in 1969 he moved to Los Angeles. After various TV roles, Cassidy landed the part that would make a star - and a fixture on the bedroom walls of teenage girls the world over - the role of Keith Patridge in The Partridge Family.
The 1970s sitcom about a mother and five children who formed a rock and roll band was a smash hit and spawned hit songs, such as I Think I Love You.
The series provided the launching pad for Cassidy's hugely successful solo career as a singer and pop idol. At the age of 21, he briefly became the highest paid entertainer in the world.
CALLS FOR AUSTRALIAN DEPORTATION
He toured the world and was greeted by hordes of screaming fans when he touched down in Australia in 1974. The chaotic scenes that accompanied him - he played to a crowd of 33,000 at Melbourne's MCG - even led to calls for him to be deported.
According to Cassidy's official website, he caused "such mass hysteria" that Australia officials "threatened to throw him out of their country as a health hazard".
Tragedy struck when a young girl was crushed to death at a concert in London's White City Stadium in May 1974.
The pop idol was traumatised by the death of 14-year-old Bernadette Whelan and decided to quit both touring and acting to concentrate on his recording career.
He released three solo albums in 1975 and 1976 and would continue to record and make music throughout the 1980s and 1990s. But his later career was dogged by financial problems and substance abuse.
In 2010 he was arrested in Florida on suspicion of drink-driving after police said they found a half-empty bottle of whisky in his car.
He was reportedly arrested for drink driving several times in the years afterwards, and lost his licence in 2016.
In February he said he had decided to stop touring as a musician in order to focus on his health.
Cassidy is survived by his daughter, actor Katie Cassidy and son, Beau Cassidy.