Billy Hinsche, a singer and songwriter best known for his work in the 1960s with Dino Martin Jr. and Desi Arnaz Jr. before touring with The Beach Boys, has died at age 70.
According to friends and former associates, Hinsche died Saturday of cancer. Actress Lucie Arnaz, a longtime friend and brother of Desi Arnaz Jr., was among the first to announce the news in an Instagram post. She also wrote that Hinsche’s mother, Celia, passed away Saturday at age 95.
It wasn’t immediately known where Hinsche, a resident of Henderson, Nevada, died.
“One of the finest humans, friends, storytellers and musicians, on the entire planet just went home to rest,” Arnaz said, noting she had known Hinsche since childhood.
“We were like brother and sister,” said the 70-year-old.
“We lost a great friend, family member, and forever member of The Beach Boys band on Saturday. We’ll miss him greatly,” Beach Boys co-founder Mike Love said via Twitter.
“All of us who had the pleasure of knowing him will miss his jovial nature and immense talent and sense of humor,” said the 80-year-old. “RIP Friend. We Love You Always.”
“Love & Mercy Billy Hinsche,” tweeted Brian Wilson.
According to his website, Hinsche composed music for his 1960s band known as Dino, Desi & Billy and had numerous other contributions, including co-writing “Away” with Dennis Wilson. Hinsche collaborated with Warren Zevon, Joan Jett, America and many other artists over his lengthy career.
Born June 29, 1951, in Manila, Philippines, Hinsche moved with his family to Beverly Hills, California, where he met Dean Martin Jr. and Desi Arnaz Jr. in high school. Their band opened for The Beach Boys, Paul Revere & The Raiders and others before Hinsche began recording and performing with The Beach Boys in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s.
Hinsche, who held a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of California Los Angeles, produced several documentaries featuring his time with The Beach Boys. He also released his own music.
Hinsche’s sister, Annie Wilson, was married to the late Carl Wilson, who died in 1998 of cancer. Hinsche sat on the board of the Carl Wilson Foundation, which funds cancer research and assists those with the disease.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.