How Did Gary Wright Die? Details of His Heartbreaking Death

how did gary wright die gary wright on stage singing and playing piano while wearing blue
Gary Wright, American musician, singer, songwriter and composer, performing 1978. Contributor: United Archives GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

The death of legends just seems to keep coming with the recent passings of Tony Bennett, Bob Barker, Jimmy Buffett, and Steve Harwell. Gary Wright is just the latest in a string of beloved musicians that the world has had to say goodbye to in the last few weeks.

Best known as the composer of the 1970s hit songs “Love Is Alive” and “Dream Weaver,” Gary Wright had a career that has stood the test of time. It will continue to stand the test of time, too, just like those artists whom he deemed to be his biggest musical influences in both R&B and rock-and-roll, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis, and the king of rock himself, Elvis Presley.

What was Gary Wright’s cause of death? What are the details surrounding Gary Wright’s will and estate? Has anything been announced around plans for Gary Wright’s funeral? Find out that and more below.

How Did Gary Wright Die?

Gary Wright’s cause of death was the result of Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.

According to his son, Justin Wright, the deceased musician and composer had been diagnosed with both diseases about six to seven years before his death.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic degenerative disorder that affects the central nervous system and leads to both motor and non-motor systems. The core signs and symptoms of the disease include tremors, difficulty walking, and slowness of movement.

Lewy body dementia is a common subtype of dementia and is often associated with Parkinson’s disease. It leads to changes in movement, behavior, mood, and thinking in the individuals it affects.

gary wright on stage in a grey shirt by a microphone
Gary Wright concert in Paris June 26, 2011 : Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band. Image by Dr. Jean Fortunet on Wikimedia Commons.

When Did Gary Wright Die?

Gary Wright passed away on Sept. 4, 2023.

He is survived by his wife and two sons.

How Old Was Gary Wright When He Died?

Gary Wright was 80 years old when he passed away at his Palos Verdes Estates home.

Where is Gary Wright Buried?

As of Sept. 5, there have been no reports on where Gary Wright will be buried or any upcoming plans for Gary Wright’s funeral.  

Gary Wright’s funeral service is expected to be for family and friends only, with opportunities for his fans to pay respects to the singer-songwriter on another occasion.

Who Inherited Gary Wright’s Money?

With a lifelong career that brought about the composition of numerous hit singles and high-profile collaborations with fellow artists such as George Harrison of the Beatles, Gary Wright accumulated enormous wealth. By the time of Gary Wright’s death, he had grown to have a $10 million net worth.

He also can track his net worth and growing estate to his time as lead vocalist and keyboardist for the rock band Spooky Tooth at the start of his career, all the way through the October 2014 release of his autobiography Dream Weaver: A Memoir Music, Meditation, and My Friendship with George HarrisonWith the release of the book, all of his Warner Bros. albums were reissued for download, introducing his music to a whole new generation of fans.

All of that makes for an interesting discussion regarding the beneficiaries of Gary Wright’s estate and the terms of Gary Wright’s will.

While nothing has been confirmed, it is assumed that Gary Wright’s estate will be split amongst his two sons, Dorian and Justin, and his wife, Rose, whom he was married to for nearly 40 years.

Related: 15 Interesting Facts About The Beatles Members

What Was Gary Wright’s Last Words?

While we’re not entirely sure what his last words were, Gary Wright’s children, whom he is survived by, did give fans a glimpse into the beloved singer’s final moments on earth.

His son, Dorian, said in an Instagram post on the day of Gary Wright’s death: “This morning, I got to sit in lotus by my father’s side chanting and meditating for two hours. As I chanted his last chant, I watched him take his last earthly breath. Thank you, Dad, for letting me help you leave your body for the Astral Plane!”

Who Wrote “Dream Weaver” by Gary Wright?

Gary Wright himself was the mastermind songwriter and keyboardist behind the 1975 hit “Dream Weaver.”

The hit song, which came out as the first single off his third studio album (and his debut album for Warner Brothers) of the same name, peaked at number one on multiple charts and even hit number two on the national Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The track was later certified gold by the RIAA.

Along with Wright on vocals, the song also featured David Foster on the electric piano and Jim Keltner on drums.

gary wright wearing a jacket and playing keyguitar on stage
Gary Wright performing at the Everett Theater, Everett, WA USA, October 14th, 2016. Image by Dharmabumstead on Wikimedia Commons.

What Was Gary Wright’s Hit in 1976?

Along with “Dream Weaver,” another of Gary Wright’s 1975 hits was “Love is Alive,” which he also wrote solely on his own. Although it didn’t have quite as good of a chart performance on local charts, it, too, peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100.

Gary Wright Death Reactions

Upon the announcement of Gary Wright’s death, several celebrities have come out to post tributes to the late musician on social media. 

Stephen Bishop was among the first to post a tribute on X, previously known as Twitter. 

“It is with great sadness that I received the news of my dear friend Gary Wright’s passing. Gary’s vibrant personality and exceptional talent made every moment together truly enjoyable,” Bishop wrote. “His legacy will live on for many years to come. 

“I will always cherish the warmth and kindness shown to me by Gary and his wife Rose, and I will forever hold dear the stories he shared with me about days gone by,” the post continued. “My heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, and fans during this difficult time.” 

His long-time friend, Al Stewart, posted a tribute to Facebook, noting his condolences for Rose and Gary Wright’s children. 

“Rest in peace, Gary Wright. Al and Gary were friends for a long time, and it was Gary who introduced Al to his touring band, The Empty Pockets,” the post read.  

Singer Dave Mason noted his brotherhood with Wright in his tribute post. 

“Gary was always ready with a good joke and was so easy to be friends with,” Mason said. “We talked about forming a band in the ’80s with Leon Russell, but nothing came about, and we all kept doing our solo work.” 

Heartbroken fans also remembered Wright by taking to social media. One fan noted the irony of the last few days of some other recently deceased stars. “They say deaths come in 3s. Unfortunately, this turned out to be true as we just now lost Gary Wright, who was famous for his ‘Dreamweaver.’ First Jimmy Buffett, then Steve Harwell, and now Gary Wright. It seems like everyone and everything is fading away.” 

Sadly, we couldn’t agree more with this sentiment. Rest in peace, Gary Wright. 

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Written by Katie Peterson

Katie Peterson received her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth in 2015. She has worked in journalism since 2015, beginning as production assistant and eventual head staff writer of the Fort Leavenworth Lamp newspaper in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Currently, she is a multimedia journalist with the Diocese of Nashville's Office of Media and Evangelization where she writes, does photography, and edits for several types of content, including the Tennessee Register, Catholic Awakenings, and She has also worked as a freelance journalist with the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas's newspaper, The Leaven, since 2016.
In her spare time, Peterson enjoys reading, spending time with her pup, Sadie Lynn, singing and songwriting.


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