BOOZE AND PILLS KILL ROCK STAR STUART; Hawaii suicide of Big Country singer. — (The Daily Record)

SSRI Ed note: Talented, successful musician, sober for 13 years, becomes depressed after marriage break-up, starts to drink again, hangs self on "pills and booze".

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The Daily Record (Glasgow)

Dec 18, 2001

Byline: JAMES

RUNAWAY Scots rocker Stuart Adamson has died of a pills and booze overdose.

The body of the Big Country star was discovered in a hotel in Hawaii.

It is thought Adamson, 43, took his own life five weeks after vanishing from his home after his second wife, Melanie Shelley, walked out on him. Last night she was said to be “devastated”.

It was a massive blow to family and friends who had made desperate appeals for him to let them know he was safe.

The singer and guitarist was an icon of music with Big Country in the 80s after first hitting the charts in the late 70s with punk band The Skids.

But he had fought a long, hard battle with booze.

The twice-married father-of-two was found by a maid in the pounds 55-a-night Best Western Plaza close to Honolulu Airport on Sunday night.

Last night, pathologists were preparing to carry out an autopsy, although the local medical examiner said the cause of death was a suspected drugs overdose.

Hawaii investigator Jimmy Annino said said: “He was found by a member of staff at 1.15pm in his hotel room. We are still waiting to inform his relatives.”

Police were waiting on his relatives arriving to formally identify the body.

Last night, the star’s manager and friend of 20 years, Ian Grant, said: “I just cannot believe it. My heart goes out to his family.

“I have just lost one of the finest people I have ever worked with or been lucky enough to know. He was a great guy.”
Adamson, who was brought up in Crossgates, Fife, had been sober for 13 years before hitting the bottle again in 1999.

He was been reported missing more than five weeks ago when he became depressed after his wife of two years, celebrity hairdresser Melanie Shelley, walked out of their home in Nashville, Tennessee.

He had moved to the States five years ago after the collapse of his marriage to first wife Sandra.

He left his two children, Calum and 17-year-old Kirsten, in Scotland and built a new life. He immersed himself in his music and formed a new band, The Raphaels. He met and married Melanie.

Nashville Entertainment reporter Brad Schmidt said: “This is a terrible tragedy. “He had only recently split up from Melanie and was pretty down about the whole situation. Friends have told me that she is totally devastated but they were having problems for some time.

“Stuart had talked about getting back to song writing and he always spoke affectionately of Scotland.

“He missed his family and friends and wanted to start a football team out here. It’s very sad because he was a great big guy. Everybody loved him, especially the ladies with his rock and roll background.”Adamson was a dedicated Dunfermline supporter and one of his closest friends was ex-Dunfermline FC boss Jim Leishman, now in charge of Livingston.

They regularly attended functions together during Leishman’s reign at the Fife club.

Close to tears yesterday, Leishman said: “I classed Stuart as a great friend so this is very, very sad. He was a talented, talented man – a star as well as a Pars fanatic. He was a special person.

“He and Bruce Watson are two of the most gifted people to come out of Dunfermline but he never forgot his roots.”

Big Country colleague Bruce Watson, spoke to Adamson on the phone not long before he went missing.

He said: “I could tell he was in a bad way but he seemed determined to get sober.”

It was the second time the star had disappered in two years. The first time was two years ago, after his withdrawal from a Bryan Adams gig in Britain in 1999.

Earlier this year, he was forced to pull out of a gig in Edinburgh with his new band due to booze problems.

Adamson was born in Manchester but grew up near Dunfermline, and formed The Skids in the 1970s.

He went on to form Big Country, which had a string of hits during the 80s as well as eight successful albums.

His best known songs were In A Big Country, Fields of Fire and Into The Valley from his time with The Skids. In 1986, he told how he had suffered a nervous breakdown six years before and was on the verge of a second due to stress and overwork.

Adamson was also facing a driving under the influence charge dating back to October in Nashville when he went missing on November 7.

He left a note for son Calum, 19, saying “Back by noon on Sunday”

The last time he was seen was in a Atlanta, Georgia eight days later.

He failed to turn up for a court hearing on November 22 and the case was continued.

Friends and family made frantic efforts to find him and even hired a private detective to track him down.

Last night, in Dunfermline, where he once owned the Tappie Toories pub, there was shock at the news.

Craig Adamson – no relation – who bought the small pub from Stuart and his ex-wife Sandra last May, said: “We can’t believe it.

“When he ran the pub he was a true gentleman, one of the most down to earth and unassuming people I’ve ever met.”

Dunfermline FC chairman John Yorkston said: “Stuart was a season ticket holder with us and rarely missed a game when he was about.

“He was a member of one of our testimonial committees The thoughts of everyone associated with the club go out to his family and friends.”

And local Labour MP Rachel Squire recalled how Stuart fought to save the town’s maternity hospital and was very upset when it closed.

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