Legendary Midnight Oil bassist Bones Hillman dies aged 62

Legendary Midnight Oil bassist Bones Hillman dies aged 62 after battle with cancer as his bandmates lead a heartbreaking tribute to the man with ‘the beautiful voice’

  • Midnight Oil bass guitarist Bones Hillman died aged 62 after a battle with cancer
  • Hillman replaced Peter Gifford in Midnight Oil in 1987 and died at home in the US
  • Band paid tribute to Hillman on Sunday as ‘the bassist with the beautiful voice’

Midnight Oil bassist Bones Hillman has died aged 62 after a battle with cancer, the band has confirmed. 

Calling him ‘the bassist with the beautiful voice’, the band shared a tribute online after Hillman died in his home in Milwaukee in the US on Sunday. 

‘We’re grieving the loss of our brother Bones Hillman, who has passed away at his home in Milwaukee today after a cancer battle,’ it said.

‘He was the bassist with the beautiful voice, the band member with the wicked sense of humour, and our brilliant musical comrade. 

Midnight Oil in 1988 (pictured, left to right, Rob Hirst, Peter Garrett, Martin Rotsey, Bones Hillman and Jim Moginie). On Sunday they paid tribute to Hillman after his death from cancer

Bones Hillman (pictured performing with Midnight Oil on November 4 2017 in Hanging Rock) died on Sunday

Hillman joined the band in 1987 and played with them for 15 years before eventually moving to America with his family.

‘Bones joined Midnight Oil way back in 1987 after stints in various Kiwi bands, most notably, The Swingers,’ the band’s tribute went on.

‘He played and sang on every Midnight Oil recording since Blue Sky Mining and we did thousands of gigs together. 

‘We will deeply miss our dear friend and companion and we send our sincerest sympathies to Denise, who has been a tower of strength for him. 

Hillman (pictured, far right with the rest of Midnight Oil) joined the band in 1987 and played with them for 15 years before eventually moving to Nashville with his family

‘Haere rā Bonesy from Jim, Martin, Peter & Rob.’

Actor Russell Crowe also issued a tribute to the star, writing on Twitter: R.I.P Bones Hillman. What a grand chap he was. Sad sad news.’

Hillman was born Wayne Stevens in Auckland in 1958 and took on his stage name in the 1970s.

He played in New Zealand punk outfits The Masochists and Suburban Reptiles before replacing Peter Gifford in Midnight Oil in 1987.

The band took a hiatus in 2002 after front man Peter Garrett’s foray into politics and Hillman returned to New Zealand before moving to Nashville with his family in 2007 where he worked as a session musician.

Hillman toured with Midnight Oil again in 2018 and recorded The Makarrata Project with the band as well as unreleased material for an upcoming project due for release next year. 

The band paid tribute to Hillman (pictured in 2017), calling him ‘the bassist with the beautiful voice’

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