There was no bigger Grateful Dead fan than Bill Walton, the late basketball icon who died yesterday (May 28) at 71 years old: He saw over 1,000 of the band’s concerts. So, some of the group’s members came through with tributes to their old friend.

Dead & Company, the new band that features original Grateful Dead members, shared a gallery of Walton photos on Instagram and wrote:

“Fare you well, fare you well, we love you more than words can tell.

Bill was an irreplaceable force and spirit in our family. Father Time, Rhythm Devil, biggest deadhead ever. Over 1000 shows and couldn’t get enough. He loved this band and we loved him.

We will miss our beloved friend, @BillWalton, deeply. Rest in peace and may the four winds blow you safely home.”

Bob Weir also shared a gallery and wrote, “Yo Bill, thanks for the ride. Thanks for the wonderful friendship, the years of color commentary – and the Hall of Fame existence that you wore like headlights. Bon voyage ol’ buddy. We’re sure gonna miss you – but don’t let that slow you down…”

Mickey Hart wrote in his own post:

“Bill was my best friend, the best friend I ever had. He was an amazing person, singular, irreplaceable, giving, loving. His love for our music was beyond description. He called himself the luckiest man in the world but it was us who were lucky—to know him, to share the adventure with him. He was the biggest Deadhead in the world and used our music as the soundtrack to his life. After our shows, he would regularly send messages that said, ‘thank you for my life.’ Over 1000 shows, he just couldn’t get enough. Bill had an incredible passion for drums. After any meal at his house, we would play. There was nothing like a Bill Walton… nothing.

There are things you can replace. And others you cannot. Bon voyage, old friend, I love you.”

Bill Kreutzmann shared a particularly long tribute:

“There are incredible stories about Bill Walton that I promised him I would only tell after he passed away, and it’s not nearly that time yet because before we laugh, first we must allow ourselves to cry. Darn it. This is a mournful day. This is a period of mourning.

Sure, Bill Walton was an NBA legend. But in the Grateful Dead orbit, he was just a fan – and that made him a legend here, too. In many ways, he was our number one fan… but Bill would’ve taken issue with that ranking because, while he won many awards in his storied basketball career — including MVP — Bill insisted that the Grateful Dead was not a competition — and that all Deadheads were equal.

By that same notion, as I flash through decades of adventures with him, there isn’t one favorite memory. They all shine through. And they’re all important, because they all brought us both real happiness. And that’s special. That’s friendship.

Bill was a genuine fan that became a genuine friend and someone I always looked up to. But his towering presence was more than just literal. Whenever I play, there will now always be a hole where a seat should be, about ten rows back, center, where Bill used to stand, eyes closed, arms raised, while he felt the music running through him. That was a happy place for him and seeing him out there was one of mine. We never did have a hard time finding him in the crowd.

Similarly, when he walked into a room, you knew it – but it wasn’t because of his size. It was because of that laugh of his that broadcasted joy, and it was his easygoing smile that beamed sunshine across any space he ever entered.

So, yeah, losing Bill is an irreplaceable loss and, in simple terms, I am heartbroken. When somebody means that much to you, when their friendship is that important – that’s called love. I loved Bill Walton. As we say in the land of the Dead: May the four winds blow him safely home.”

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