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Pegi Young (1952–2019), musician, philanthropist, Neil Young's former wife

Pegi Young (1952–2019), musician, philanthropist, Neil Young’s former wife

by Kirk Fox

Philanthropist and singer Pegi Young co-founded the Bridge School.

Pegi Young (1952–2019) was the co-founder of the Bridge School for children with disabilities, along with her former husband, singer Neil Young. Over the course of their 36-year marriage, she was the inspiration for some of his famous songs, including “Harvest Moon.” Their 2014 divorce was the topic of Pegi Young’s most recent album, “Raw,” released in 2017.

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Died: Tuesday, January 1, 2019 (Who else died on January 1?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 66 following a year-long fight with cancer, surrounded by friends and family in California.

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Charitable activism: Pegi Young co-founded the Bridge School in 1987 when she and Neil could not find a school to provide necessary services for their son Ben, who had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Thirty years later, the educational nonprofit continues to assist children with severe disabilities to get the programs they need at school. Pegi Young regularly organized an annual benefit concert for the Bridge School that brought some of the nation’s most famous musicians to perform. Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Neil Young, and other top musicians have participated. 

Notable quote: While Pegi sang throughout her life, she focused more on her music career in recent years, releasing a debut album in 2007 at the age of 55. About her fifth and final album, 2017’s “Raw,” she said: “At the time I wrote [‘Raw’], my life had been turned upside down,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “In the immediate aftermath of the separation I just wrote and wrote and wrote… Thank God I had that as an outlet.” 

What people said about her: “The incomparable #PegiYoung, a most rare & precious monument to all things good and decent in this world. She shined over everyone & everything.” —Musician/producer Val Broeksmit, via Twitter

Full obituary: Los Angeles Times

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