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Legendary producer Busbee dies at age 43 after reported battle with brain cancer

Busbee and Gwen Stefani
Busbee and Gwen Stefani in the studio. Pic credit: @busbee/Instagram

Busbee, the grammy-nominated songwriter and producer, has died at the age of 43 after a battle with brain cancer. He worked extensively with many industry heavyweights like Marren Morris, Blake Shelton, Kieth Urban, Pink, and Shakira.

The news broke early on the evening on Sunday, September 29. Busbee, who’s real name is Micheal James Ryan, was a father to three children, including a recently born baby girl.

No official cause of death has yet been revealed but according to CMT, he had been diagnosed with brain cancer over the summer and Variety said he was undergoing treatment for a condition known as Glioblastoma.

Glioblastoma is the most aggressive type of cancer to start in the brain, and according to the Mayo Clinic can be difficult to cure.

A memo from Warner Records’ co-chairman and CEO, Aaron Bay-Schuck and co-chairman and COO, Tom Corson sent to staff read: “Today we lost busbee, a dear friend, business partner with his company Altadena, and one of the best and brightest creative minds in music. busbee’s kindness and legacy will never be forgotten and our hearts and prayers go out to his family and this very difficult time.”

Busbee has been remembered by several colleagues who have paid tribute to his talent. Marren Morris, 29, took to Twitter to share a picture of herself with the California-based producer.

“This just doesn’t seem fair,” she wrote alongside the image. “I will always love you and the songs and albums I was lucky to make with you, Busbee. Rest well, my sweet friend.”

The Jonas Brothers also paid tribute to the late songwriter, pausing their show in Tulsa with a special performance of their song Feeling Alive, which was co-written by Busbee.

Speaking to the crowd, they said: “If it’s alright, we’d like to take a moment to honor Mike Busbee, the late, great Mike Busbee, and his contribution to the world of music but specifically at this moment our music, with our song Feeling Alive.”

Busbee grew up in the Bay Area where he spent his youth listening to jazz and the Hot AC Christian radio his mother enjoyed. At age seven he began playing piano and took up the trombone while in high school. His natural talent led to a college scholarship in 1995, but he returned home a couple of years later.

Explaining to Ross Golan, host of And the Writer Is… on the May 6 episode of the podcast, he was living at home with his mom at 23 when he was offered a job as music pastor at a local church. “There’s so much music at church,” Busbee explained. “You can feel when a song feels like it’s inspired.”


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