Midnight Oil bassist Bones Hillman has died aged 62 after years of battling cancer, with the band paying tribute to“our brilliant musical comrade.”
The Midnight Oil rocker, Bones Hillman, remembered as “the bassist with the beautiful voice,” died at his Milwaukee home in the early hours of Sunday (November 8) morning.
The death was confirmed via the band’s social media accounts yesterday and tributes have been pouring in from devastated fans online.
In a statement posted on Twitter, his bandmates said: “We’re grieving the loss of our brother. He was the bassist with the beautiful voice, the band member with the wicked sense of humour, and our brilliant musical comrade.”
We’re grieving the loss of our brother Bones Hillman, who has passed away at his home in Milwaukee today after a cancer battle. He was the bassist with the beautiful voice, the band member with the wicked sense of humour, and our brilliant musical comrade. pic.twitter.com/qP5EJqZowL
— Midnight Oil (@midnightoilband) November 8, 2020
Midnight Oil went onto say that, “Bones joined Midnight Oil way back in 1987 after stints in various Kiwi bands, most notably, The Swingers.”
Bones Hillman has sung on every Midnight Oil record since the band’s 1990 release of Blue Sky Mining, playing thousands of the Oil’s live shows.
“We will deeply miss our dear friend and companion and we send our sincerest sympathies to Denise, who has been a tower of strength for him. Haere rā Bonesy from Jim, Martin, Peter & Rob,” they continued.
Since the announcement, fans have been posting their tributes on Twitter.
So sorry to hear this news. He will be missed. I will always remember his singing on “One Country” on the Great Circle Tour and his support of Dave Dobbyn at the Katikati Memorial Hall. A kauri has fallen in the musical forest of Aotearoa.
— Jeff M (@jeff_acoustic) November 8, 2020
So sorry to hear of his passing.. such an integral member of the Oils. Sincere condolences
— Dave Williams (@DangerousDaveW) November 8, 2020
Oh man. Did not need these tears today RIP Bones. Thanks for the amazing memories.
— murray (@muzzaroach) November 8, 2020
Holy shit, that’s terrible. Bones was amazing. RIP
— Gui Porto (@gportoe) November 8, 2020
My heart goes out to his family and friends. He inspired so many people, including me, in many ways. May his memory be a blessing and a comfort to everyone who knew him personally or was touched by his music, his personality and his voice. 🤍 Sending my condolences and love.
— midnight oil lyrics (@oilslyricsbot) November 8, 2020
Beyond his bass career with Midnight Oil, Bones worked as a session artist and collaborated with numerous other musicians, such as NZ singer-songwriter Dave Dobbyn. Bones can be heard on his 2005 album Available light.
In August this year, Midnight Oil returned after an 18-year hiatus with Gadigal Land. The Makarrata Project, the album it featured on, arrived late October, featuring collaborations with the likes of Indigenous Australian voices Alice Skye, Dan Sultan, Tasman Keith, Jessica Mauboy, Kev Carmody, and more.
Stream The Makarrata Project here.