Longtime U2 tour manager Dennis Sheehan died Tuesday night in West Hollywood. The group confirmed his death via his website. He was on tour with the band in Los Angeles, where U2 was set to launch a five-night residency. Variety reports that Sheehan suffered a heart attack. He was 68 years old.
“We have lost a family member, we continue to take him,” Bono said in a statement. “He was not just a legend in the music world, he was a legend in our band. He is irreplaceable.
“Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his wonderful family,” said Arthur Fogel, president of Live Nation of Global Touring, calling Sheehan a “dear friend to us all.”
Sheehan was U2’s tour manager for over three decades. During his career he also worked with Led Zeppelin, attending their 1975 and 1977 tours, as well as Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Siouxsie and the Banshees and members of the Sex Pistols, according to News Projection, Lighting and Staging (PLSN).
“His charm and humor [was] a beacon in the collapse of the late 70s”, Robert Plant say it Los Angeles Times. “He ironed my green satin flares with a straight face and helped me relearn the gift of speech every morning after!
“When my family suffered a great loss, he was there to support when so many others weren’t,” he added. “I loved him like the mischievous brother he was. Time is vicious – we move too fast to spend it with the people who really matter.
“I never drank until I was 30, never did drugs, and I was always honest,” Sheehan told PLSN of his success. “I think people knew my story back then, and knew that I was straight and had a sense of responsibility. I still got the job done regardless.
Born in Wolverhampton, England, Sheehan grew up in the south of Ireland – where his family was originally from – and in England. When he was growing up, he learned the guitar and played professionally all over Europe, landing his first tour management gig at 19 with a Jamaican soul band called Jimmy James and the Vagabonds, according to PLSN. After working with a Scottish band called Cartoone (also fronted by Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant), Sheehan was offered a job with Led Zeppelin. From there he worked with Patti Smith and other artists.
Sheehan joined U2 in 1982 when manager Paul McGuinness was looking for a tour manager and one of the applicants sent Sheehan. He befriended the band almost instantly and became their tour manager. Eventually, his duties extended beyond touring with the band, such as arranging a trip to Africa for Bono, helping Edge plan a visit to New Orleans, and helping arrange the band’s multiple visits to Congress. He accompanied Bono in the singer’s extracurricular activities, even going to the White House when Bill and Hillary Clinton invited the singer to perform “One” at the American Millennium Gala.
In 2008, Sheehan received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Parnelli Awards, which recognizes the live event industry.
“There’s something extremely special about U2,” Sheehan said. U2 magazine in 1984 (via AtU2.com). “Whether in their social life, for which they are very attached, or in their professional life, for which they are also very attached, they seek the best and, in turn, the people who work for them give their best. ‘themselves.”