Barry Fey cause of death confirmed, foundation and Red Rocks statue campaign launched
Update below: On Tuesday, when family and friends of the late Barry Fey bid farewell to the legendary Denver rock promoter at a Capitol Hill memorial service, we noted that according to our sources, as well as CBS4, he had taken his own life; see our previous coverage below. That's now been confirmed by the Arapahoe County coroner, although some information has not yet been made public. In the meantime, a new foundation has been launched in his name, along with a nascent campaign to build a statue of Fey at Red Rocks.
Fey's loved ones continue to update his various Facebook pages, noting at one point this week that while most articles about his passing have said he was 73 at the time of his death, he was actually 74. The profile pic on his main page has also been changed. Here it is:
Against this backdrop, coroner Michael Doberman ruled Fey's death suicide, although the method he used has not yet been shared "pending further studies." CBS4 reports that one of Fey's sons, who'd been living at a Cherry Hills Village home the promoter had been renting, discovered his body.
Fey had recently undergone hip surgery, and multiple sources tell Westword he'd been struggling with depression.
A photo of Fey from the foundation Facebook page.
In the meantime, the Barry Fey Foundation made its Facebook debut on Monday. The specific goals of the organization are a bit vague at this point: His personal website notes that the "foundation has been set up by the family to benefit Colorado music programs. The Fey family is currently choosing the programs and will announce this shortly.
Update, May 3: The original version of this post noted a foundation offer of Backstage Pass, Fey's book, for each donation over $50. But while that language is still online, Tyler Fey, one of Barry's sons, tells us the deal was withdrawn after the family learned Fey had a partner in the book deal who might have collected a portion of the money. Tyler stresses that the family wants 100 percent of donations to go to causes his loved ones are still in the process of selecting. For that reasons, donors will not receive a copy of the book -- but Tyler says they should be secure in the knowledge that every dollar will go to a worthy organization.
Here's the description of Fey from the foundation Facebook page:
Barry Fey is a legend among promoters, a mensch among musicians, and a god-like figure to the audiences of his shows. He witnessed the birth of Rock-n-Roll and helped support many of Rocks's historic legends. Known as a promoter of the people, Barry would work to ensure high quality acts and low ticket prices. He would also be the one to eventually open Red Rocks for large concerts, putting Colorado on the map as a must see destination for national tours.
This page honors Barry's legacy by promoting his message of fighting for the underdog. Thank you all of for your support, and your endless efforts in helping progress Colorado music.
A date for a public Fey memorial is still pending. In the meantime, Jake Schroder, lead vocalist of the group Opie Gone bad, and regular National Anthem singer at Colorado Avalanche games, posted the following on his Facebook page : "Is anyone actively working on putting a statue of Barry Fey up at Red Rocks? If not, here I go."
Continue for previous coverage about Barry Fey's passing.
Neither his family nor the authorities in Arapahoe County, where he passed away, have addressed reports that Fey took his own life -- information that echoes what we're hearing from multiple sources. Details are expected later this week, after a private funeral service slated for today, and a public memorial is in the works.
As quoted by CBS4, the first news agency to state that Fey committed suicide, Arapaohoe County coroner Michael Doberson says an autopsy has been completed, but results aren't being issued at this point at the request of the family. Doberson expects a full release of the information by Thursday.
Prior to his death, Fey was recovering from hip surgery. His Facebook page features the following photo, posted April 2:
The text accompanying the shot reads, "Here is Barry doing good on the stairs. This was before the fall. But I am sure he will be back up on those stairs any day now!"
A subsequent post from April 24 informed Facebook friends that Fey was home and doing well. Then, silence until yesterday, when the following popped up:
THANK YOU FOR THE OUTPOURING OF LOVE AND SUPPORT DURING THIS TIME. WE ARE FINDING YOUR STORIES AND COMMENTS VERY COMFORTING. IT IS NICE TO KNOW HOW MANY LIVES OUR DAD TOUCHED. ALAN, GEOFF, JEREMY & TYLER FEY
A vintage photo of Barry Fey playing football with members of Lynryrd Skynyrd.
The note was followed a few hours later by this one:
WE CONTINUE TO BE COMFORTED BY THE AMOUNT OF THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS WE'VE RECEIVED OVER THE LAST 24 HRS. THE FAMILY WILL BE HOLDING A PRIVATE FUNERAL AND ASK THAT YOU RESPECT OUR PRIVACY DURING THIS TIME. WE WILL BE PLANNING A CELEBRATION OF HIS LIFE IN THE COMING DAYS AND WILL LET EVERYONE KNOW, SO THAT YOU CAN CELEBRATE WITH US THE AMAZING THINGS HE ACCOMPLISHED.
Many folks aren't waiting to salute Fey, including a number of famous ones. An example found on Fey's personal Facebook page is this nod from Ozzy Osbourne:
Barry Fey was a gentleman and a great friend. He was the first U.S. promoter to believe in Black Sabbath and gave us our first American tour. The music world has lost a great man. My heart goes out to his family.
By the way, Fey's family asks that in lieu of flowers, folks donate to the Preserve the Rocks Fund. Here's how to do so, as posted by Fey's family:
Preserve The Rocks Fund Arts & Venues Denver 1245 Champa St Denver, CO 80204
Red Rocks Amphitheatre is one of the most iconic entertainment venues in the world. Set in the foothills of Colorado's Rocky Mountains, the beauty of this natural amphitheatre is matched only by the acoustically perfect sound.
For more than 70 years, fans of all music, from opera and rock to classical and pop, have filled Red Rocks to see the greats.
And, while the rocks have been thousands of years in the making, it doesn't take long for the venue to become worn down. The wear and tear of 9,000 fans a night requires constant management and upkeep.
We invite you to keep the memories and history of the venue alive by supporting its future.
Among the maintenance and operations supported by Preserve the Rocks:
Restoration of the historic Trading Post building, built in 1931
Expanded exhibit space in the Red Rocks Visitors Center
Maintenance and preservation of Red Rocks backstage dressing rooms and catering facilities
Maintenance of surrounding parking lot and park facilities
Donations may now be accepted by mail:
Preserve the Rocks Fund Arts & Venues Denver 1245 Champa Street Denver, CO 80204
More from our Latest Word archive: "Barry Fey, R.I.P.: He put on stadium concerts, but couldn't make a cup of coffee."
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