CALGARY (CP) - William (Billy) Cowsill, 58, lead singer of the 1960s family band The Cowsills, has died at his home in Calgary after a lengthy illness.
News of his death Friday night was confirmed by family members who had gathered in Rhode Island for a memorial service for Barry Cowsill, a brother who was also in the band, who drown in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in September.
Billy Cowsill had moved to Canada 35 years ago and continued his music career with Blue Northern and later The Blue Shadows. But it was the Cowsills that led to his greatest success as lead singer with such hits as "Hair" and "Indian Lake."
The band was also the inspiration for the tv series The Partridge Family. The Cowsills also had their own television special, performed a headline act in Las Vegas and did milk commercials.
Family members gathered Saturday at the memorial service for Barry Cowsill say Billy had been ill for several years with emphysema, osteoporosis, Cushing syndrome and other ailments. But they did not have details on his cause of death.
Paul Cowsill, another brother in the band, told the Providence Journal that Billy had a history of problems with drugs and alcohol that "caught up with him."
"He'd be the first one to tell you he's paying the fiddler," he said.
The Cowsill family included parents Bud and Barbara, a daughter Susan and brothers William, Robert, Richard, Barry, Paul, and John.
Billy is survived by two sons, Travis and Del.