Del Palmer, engineer, bass player and long-time creative ally of Kate Bush, has died at the age of 71, confirmed the Kate Bush News website yesterday.
"We are heartbroken to tell you that Del Palmer passed away at home, yesterday, Friday January 5th, surrounded by his family," a post on the site reads.
"Del had dealt with health issues over the last few years and the announcement came today on social media from his niece, Debbii Louise Palmer on behalf of Del’s family."
Born in south London in 1952, Palmer joined his first band in the late '60s, alongside close friend Brian Bath. The duo would enjoy a fruitful career in music together, including stints in bands Cobwebs and Strange, Tame and Company, and then with the KT Bush Band, a backing band assembled for a prodigious young singer-songwriter named Kate Bush.
"I knew I had to be involved," Palmer told the Irish Examiner in 2018. "She was going to be huge – that was obvious to me when she was 17 and still a very raw artist.
"We had a residency in the Rose of Lee pub in East London. The first night there were about 10 people. By the time we finished the residency, there were people out the street who couldn’t get in the door, it was so jammed."
Palmer didn't feature on Bush's first album, but contributed to its follow-up, Lionheart. By this time, Palmer was in a relationship with Bush, a partnership that endured until the '90s. They remained friends and collaborators for the rest of Palmer's career, and he featured on every post-Lionheart album.
Palmer also released three solo albums: 2007's Leap of Faith, 2010's Gift, and Point of Safe Return in 2015.