The brilliant, opinionated, and one-of-a-kind Grant Hart has died.
One of the original members of St. Paul rock band Hüsker Dü, Hart died early Thursday at the age of 56, Variety reported. He'd been battling cancer.
The Hüsker Dü Facebook page posted a photo of a young Hart with no caption at about 1:25 a.m. CST. And Bob Mould – who along with Hart and Greg Norton created the band in '79 – offered up a heartfelt post about meeting his late friend for the first time.
Toward the end he says the "tragic news" of Hart's death was "not unexpected to me."
Hart, born in South St. Paul, was the outspoken drummer, vocalist and songwriter with Hüsker Dü. The trio released six full albums during the '80s, starting with Everything Falls Apart in 1983.
The A.V. Club credits the following album, Zen Arcade, as being one of the "birthplaces of alt-rock," and a transformative step for Hüsker Dü as the band shifted from hardcore punk to a more mainstream rock sound.
Their run would end before the decade was up. The band's final studio album, Warehouse: Songs and Stories, was released in 1987. And Hüsker Dü broke up the following year.
Tensions between Hart and Mould frequently cited as a reason.
"That was the thing with Hüsker Dü. After writing together for a long time, we started writing separately. We started competing rather than working together," Hart told Spin in 2013 before the release of his solo album, The Argument.
There were also allegations of drug abuse, which Hart said he was "bitter" about having to answer for in the years after the band broke up. A decade later he told The Onion he was "certainly not the biggest drug abuser" of Hüsker Dü.
There was never a celebratory reunion. Hart and Mould played one show together after Hüsker Dü's break-up, The Current notes – a 2005 benefit for Soul Asylum's Karl Mueller.
(There was some communication lately, enough to get a boxed set lined up for release later this year.)
But Hüsker Dü lives on as one of the influential American rock bands of the 1980s, with Hart an integral piece of their success.
"RIP Grant Hart," Ryan Adams tweeted. "Your music saved my life. It was with me the day I left home. It's with me now. Travel safely to the summerlands."
Here's one of Hart's classic compositions from the Hüsker Dü years.