Ariana Grande joins drum community in paying tribute to Aaron Spears, who has died aged 47

Session drummer, clinician and author, Aaron Spears
(Image credit: Future)

Earlier today, the drumming community was left in shock by the seemingly sudden passing of session drummer Aaron Spears, who celebrated his 47th birthday just four days ago. 

His death was announced by his wife, Jessica who made the announcement via Spears’ social media channels just a few hours ago, and the news has been met by an outpouring of tributes across the music world.

Leading the tributes was Ariana Grande, who Spears played for - notably, during her 2017 Dangerous Woman tour. The 22 May tour date in Manchester, UK, turned to tragedy at the hands of a terrorist attack inside the venue.

Posting to her Instagram Stories, Grande wrote, “I can’t wrap my head around this. We were all so incredibly lucky to know Aaron. The absolute brightest light of a human being. Always the kindest, always smiling.

“I am so honored and thankful that our paths crossed, and to have spent so much very special time together. Thank you for your utter brilliance, for our laughs, and for your kindness always. I will miss your hugs. You are so, so loved and will be so very missed.”

Musicians pay tribute to drummer, Aaron Spears

(Image credit: Instagram)

Of course, Aaron Spears was a hugely inspirational drummer to players from all genres thanks to his energetic, explosive drumming style, and his friends, peers, gear brands and more have taken to social media to pay their respects, and wish Spears' family well. 

His close friend, Eric Moore took to his own Instagram to pay tribute to Spears, sharing dozens of photos along with a short, emotional video clip where he said, 

“I’ve been crying. All day, and I don’t cry, I don’t cry at all. It’s not my MO. But this hit me real different. I’ve got to go and play a show, a drum clinic and I don’t feel like playing at all.”

Travis Barker took a similar approach, sharing a photo of himself to Instagram with the caption, “My heart is broken. Your friendship meant the world to me. You inspired me to fall back in love with drumming after my accident. It’ll never be the same without you. Like I always said, I love you my brother @aspears”

Ricky Lewis, drummer for The Weeknd said, “Heartbroken. I’m gonna miss you, Aaron, while Tony Royster posted a photo of Spears, writing “Doing everything I can to keep it together..My heart is beyond heavy…Love you Aaron!!

Aaron Spears is survived by his wife, Jessica and son, August. No cause of death has been announced at the time of writing.

Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.