How Did John Denver Die?

October 12, 1997, was an unfortunate day for country music fans. The country legend, John Denver’s death was cast on the news that day and that news broke the hearts of millions. 

John Denver had our folk music in the spotlight with his unique vocals and splendid acoustic guitar playing. Even his manager admitted that John Denver was truly one of a kind; “If you give Elvis the ’50s and the Beatles the ’60s, I think you’ve got to give John Denver the ’70s.”

The tragedy happened when John Denver was on an experimental plane that crashed into the Pacific Ocean afterward. Since that tragedy, many have started to dig holes in how John Denver died, so what’s the real story? 

John Denver’s journey in music 

John Denver plane crash

Born on December 31, 1943, in New Mexico, Roswell, John Denver started his journey in music when he was just 11 years old. His grandmother gifted him a 1910 acoustic Gibson guitar, and then he began his music career. 

Denver graduated from Texas Tech University in 1964, but his passion for music proved to be stronger. He dropped out and went to New York to pursue music. 

Thereafter John was elected to be on the Chad Mitchel Trio. The group (including; Peter, Mary, and Paul) recorded “Leaving on a Jet Plane”, a song written by Denver. 

The music became a true hit and his life started to take a flight. Multiple studios embraced Denver’s music and he later changed his name for better recognition, and that’s where ‘Denver’ was born. 

During his time, Denver released six albums, including songs; “Rocky Mountain High,” “Country Road, Take Me Home,” “Thank God I’m A Country Boy,” and “Annie’s Song.” 

All of his songs started to break the charts one after another. His fan base started to grow rapidly and almost every time he would perform a concert, the tickets sold out instantly. 

Denver also cared about the environment. Using his popularity and fame, he promoted organizations such as; Cousteau Society, Save the Children, National Space Institute, and Friends of the Earth. 

John Denver even promoted the Windstar Foundation and founded the World Hunger Project. Despite being a country music legend, he was also a true hero, but fate had other plans. 

Related: The Best Hits From John Denver

How Did John Denver Die?

John Denver’s father was just as talented as him. He was a U.S. Air Offircer. Looking at his dad, Denver grew a passion for planes. 

His love for planes led him to fly airplanes. He loved the sky, being alone in the air. But that passion would ultimately result in his tragedy. 

The tragedy story of Denver takes place on Oct. 12, 1997. That day Denver went to Monterey Peninsula Airport (near California.) 

Denver knew how to fly the plane but didn’t have his pilot license yet. Before heading down to the Pacific Ocean, Denver performed three touch-and-go landings and embarked on his journey. 

He was really unlucky that day because the plane he took flight on was responsible for 61 accidents. After some time, Denver’s plane started to take a nose dive into the ocean, near 5:28. 

His plane, Adian Davis Long EZ was still in an experimental phase, and it didn’t become successful. John died in the plane crash but what caused the crash remained a mystery. 

What Caused John Denver’s Deadly Plane Crash? 

John Denver plane crash

After hearing the news of John’s passing, many questioned the cause of the crash and after a further investigation, NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) came up with an answer. 

They stated that the cause of the crash was due to the poor placement of a fuel sector. When Denver tried to get a hold of the hard-to-access handle to switch gas tanks, he accidentally went nose-diving. 

Investigators also stated that Denver knew the handle was hard to get hold of. The plane designers also told Denver that they would change the handle during the end of his tour, but that never happened. 

Denver had a chance to turn his fate. The investigators also stated that Denver was advised to refuel his plane at the time, but he ignored to do so. He told his mechanic it was unnecessary because he only flew for an hour.

The experienced pilots found this a bit strange seeing the cause of the plane crash. They stated that the valve placement wasn’t simple enough to make the plane nosedive. 

After the crash, the investigators spent all evening trying to find all the parts of his body. All the parts were under 25 feet deep in the ocean.

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