Andy Fraser, out bassist for the classic British rock band Free, died Monday. The cause of death has not been announced, but the musician in recent years had been battling both cancer and AIDS. He was 62.
Fraser got his start as a teenager playing with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers in 1960s London. He formed Free with fellow musician Paul Rodgers (who later formed Bad Company) and cowrote the band's 1970 anthem "All Right Now," which shot to the #4 spot on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles charts. Hear Fraser playing that song's funky bass breakdown:
Fraser, who had two daughters with his ex-wife Henrietta Fraser, did not admit to himself that he was gay until he was in his 30s. In 2005, at age 53, he publicly came out in the pages of The Advocatesaying, "I'm a late bloomer. It took up until now to pluck up the nerve." He also disclosed that he had contracted HIV in the early 1990s.
Fraser wrote songs performed by a who's who of pop, including Robert Palmer, Chaka Khan, and Rod Stewart. In 2008, Fraser, by then a California resident for decades, wrote and performed a song called "Obama (Yes, We Can)" as an endorsement of the future U.S. president.