Midnight Oil bassist and backing vocalist Bones Hillman has died aged 62. Born Wayne Stevens in New Zealand, Hillman passed away at his home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after a battle with cancer.
“We’re grieving the loss of our brother Bones Hillman, who has passed away at his home in Milwaukee today after a cancer battle. He was the bassist with the beautiful voice, the band member with the wicked sense of humour, and our brilliant musical comrade,” wrote his bandmates Jim Moginie, Martin Rotsey, Peter Garrett, and Rob Hirst.
“We will deeply miss our dear friend and companion and we send our sincerest sympathies to (his wife) Denise, who has been a tower of strength for him.”
Hillman joined Midnight Oil in 1987 after stints performing with other groups in New Zealand.
“He played and sang on every Midnight Oil recording since Blue Sky Mining and we did thousands of gigs together,” the band wrote.
“Haere rā Bonesy from Jim, Martin, Peter & Rob.”
Hillman’s death comes days after the band released its first new album since 2002, The Makarrata Project, featuring collaborations with Indigenous artists, which reached number one on the ARIA charts. It is the band’s first album to reach the top since Blue Sky Mining in 1990.
Tributes have started to pour in for Hillman:
“What a grand chap he was. Sad sad news.” Posted Russell Crowe.
The members of Jebediah posted: “We are deeply saddened to hear the news today of the passing of Bones Hillman from Midnight Oil and send our loving thoughts to his family and the extended Oils family whose history runs deep and long.”