Dave Rosser, Afghan Whigs Guitarist, Dead at 50

Gutter Twins member and longtime studio musician dies following battle with inoperable colon cancer

Dave Rosser, guitarist for the Afghan Whigs, has died at age 50 following a battle with inoperable colon cancer. Credit: Chad Kamenshine

Dave Rosser, guitarist for the Afghan Whigs, died Tuesday following a battle with inoperable colon cancer. He was 50.

"It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our friend, brother and inspiration," the band wrote on Facebook. "Dave Rosser passed away peacefully last evening surrounded by love. Thank you to all who kept him in their hearts. He is forever in ours."

When the Afghan Whigs reformed in 2014 for Do to the Beast, the band's first album in 16 years, Rosser was a member of the new lineup; the guitarist previously played in frontman Greg Dulli's side projects The Gutter Twins and the Twilight Singers.

Rosser also served as composer and guitarist on albums by Ani DiFranco, Joseph Arthur and Tim Heidecker.

In October, the Afghan Whigs announced that Rosser was battling inoperable colon cancer; two months later, the band staged a pair of all-star concerts to raise money to cover the guitarist's mounting medical bills.

"Dave Rosser has been my close friend and bandmate for over a decade now," Dulli wrote at the time. "By doing these shows for him we hope to ease any financial stress he may face as he pursues treatment to combat his illness. 100% of the proceeds from these shows will go to his medical care. I’m hopeful that folks will come out and show their support for Dave who will be performing with us."

Despite the cancer diagnosis, Rosser contributed to Afghan Whigs' recently released LP In Spades.

In early May, Rosser spoke to Guitar World about his prognosis. While the guitarist was unable to join the Afghan Whigs on the tour in support of In Spades, he was optimistic he could play at least a few gigs with the band, who didn't fill the vacancy left by Rosser on the trek.

"I just finished the first six months of chemo and am taking a break," Rosser said. "I'm feeling pretty good and my spirits are good. I record a lot at the house and have been making a lot of music with friends. I’m staying busy and have purpose. I'll try to get out and meet the band on a few stops in Europe where they’ll be for a few days."

"Having you as a friend is and will be one of the finest accomplishments of my entire life," Jeff Klein, Rosser's friend and former bandmate in My Jerusalem, wrote on Facebook. "You are truly a rare treasure. I will carry you with me everywhere I go. Love you infinitely and eternally. Til we meet again."