The Chieftains fiddle player Seán Keane has died unexpectedly at the age of 76.
Seán Keane's family stated on social media that the musician died unexpectedly in his Dublin home on the morning of Sun, May 7.
"The sadness is very real. My wonderful, kind and brilliant fiddle-playing big brother passed unexpectedly at his home in Rathcoole, County Dublin this morning," Keane's brother James said on social media.
Keane, who grew up in Dublin, joined Ceoltóirí Cualann in the 1960s before joining The Chieftains in 1968.
He also performed with some of the duos and trios formed by Paddy Moloney and released a solo album along with a duet album with fellow Chieftains member Matt Molloy.
Tributes have poured in for Keane since his death was announced yesterday.
The Irish Traditional Music Archive said it was "devastated" to learn of Keane's death, describing him as a "beacon" for traditional music.
"His powerful fiddle playing married technical virtuosity with an incredibly insightful and sensitive understanding of what made Irish traditional music distinctively beautiful," the Irish Traditional Music Archive said in a statement.
The National Concert Hall also paid tribute to Keane, describing him as a "talented musician" who inspired listeners all over the world.
"We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Seán Keane," the NCH said on Twitter. "A talented musician whose music transcended cultural boundaries & inspired listeners from all over the world."
We're deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Seán Keane.
A talented musician whose music transcended cultural boundaries & inspired listeners from all over the world.
Our condolences go out to his family & friends during this time.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam pic.twitter.com/hGz2iHA2UF— National Concert Hall (@NCH_Music) May 7, 2023
US Ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin also paid tribute to Keane, noting that he had performed for US President Joe Biden in Ballina just weeks ago.
She said Biden was "genuinely moved" to see the Chieftains perform together one last time.
"Sean’s remarkable career saw him play with the world's greatest musicians, and collect 6 Grammy awards with The Chieftains, bringing traditional Irish music to a new audience in the US and around the world. May he rest in peace."
Saddened to hear Sean Keane of The Chieftains has passed away. Just weeks ago, Sean performed for President Biden in Ballina. @POTUS was genuinely moved to see The Chieftains together again for one last time.
Sean’s remarkable career saw him play with the worlds greatest… pic.twitter.com/FQ2IISKApQ— Ambassador Claire Cronin (@USAmbIreland) May 7, 2023