Jay Bennett, an important part of the complex machine that is Wilco, died early this morning at the age of 45 in Urbana, Illinois. His family released a statement stating Bennett died in his sleep. An actual cause is not known as this time but an autopsy is being done this week.
Bennett was a member of Wilco for years and critics say that his songwriting and musicianship that he shared with Jeff Tweety were important in turning the band from an indie favorite to a group who could easily compete with the best in the mainstream. Bennett’s departure from the group shocked many, although those who loved Bennett’s input with Wilco chose to follow his musical adventures as well.