First crush for many Gen-X boys (and girls) heartthrob of the 1970s David Cassidy, known to TV-watching households as Keith Partridge in The Partridge Family, has passed away. Cassidy was surrounded by family and friends at a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he succumbed to organ failure.
Cassidy, 67, had been in need of a liver transplant. In early 2017, he revealed to People magazine he had dementia. Both his mother, actor Evelyn Ward, and grandfather eventually died of dementia complications. In 2008, Cassidy admitted to a lifelong struggle with alcoholism. He had been arrested for driving under the influence three times between 2010 and 2014.
Before The Partridge Family he made his Broadway debut in the flopped musical The Fig Leaves Are Falling in 1969.
Cassidy’s father was the actor Jack Cassidy. Oklahoma! actor Shirley Jones would eventually become his step-mother and be cast as his television mom Shirley Partridge. Shirley Jones is the mother of his half-brothers Patrick and Ryan, as well as Shaun Cassidy, a teen idol in his own right. David Cassidy’s bubblegum legacy would be sealed by his hit song “I Think I Love You,” which led to numerous teen fanzine covers displaying his wholesome good looks and trademark shag hairstyle. “Cherish” and “Come on Get Happy” were among his other notable hits.
Though he reportedly experienced financial trouble in recent years, at his peak Cassidy was the world’s highest paid live entertainer, and his official fan club was the largest in pop history (bigger than those of Elvis and The Beatles). As a solo artist, he played to sold-out stadiums and stirred mass hysteria and riots during his international touring. At the last date in London of one concert tour, a gate stampede occurred, crushing 800 fans including 14-year-old Bernadette Whelan, who died four days later. These events would forever haunt Cassidy.
Cassidy continued to tour and work on television throughout the years (such as playing Boone Vincent, a hilarious, campy version of himself, in the “Vegas” episode of Malcolm in the Middle), only slowing down after his dementia diagnosis.
The beloved actor and musician was married three times and is survived by two children.