UPDATED: Billy Ruane, R.I.P.; Middle East holds 11 pm vigil.

UPDATE 10/28/10 1:30 PM


UPDATE: 10/27/10 12:15 PM

REACTION TO THE DEATH OF BILLY RUANE: from Friends, Fans, Musicians, Writers

UPDATE: 10/27/10 9:18 AM

Arts Editor Jon Garelick remembers Billy Ruane

UPDATE: 10:16 PM

The Phoenix is told there will be an impromptu get-together for friends of Billy Ruane tonight at 11 pm at the Middle East. 


Billy Ruane passed away this evening. He would have been 53 in November. According to Pat McGrath, Ruane's longtime friend, who looked after him in recent years, Ruane had gone through a difficult week. Ruane, who fought a long battle with bipolar disorder, was hospitalized last Monday after having a heart scare. McGrath had been in the process of having Ruane placed in protective custody. "We were in the process of getting him locked up again," a distraught McGrath said, shortly after Ruane's body was loaded into an ambulance, bound for an autopsy. "Couldn't get it done in time."

"I loved Billy," McGrath said. "I’m drawn to people with the same sort of enthusiasm as me. Thirty years ago, Billy was everywhere I went. Every movie I went to, every concert. I remember going to see something at Symphony Hall, at a Gill Evans concert, and Big Mama Thorton at Jonathan Swifts -- he popped up handing Big Mama a bouquet. I was just drawn to him, that’s how we became friends."

McGrath protected Ruane from his demons and managed his affairs for the past seven or eight years. "I loved Billy’s sensibility," he said, "And so I guess he was just somebody I loved. He could be a handful and a pain in the ass. But there was nobody like him."

The Phoenix has learned that the legendary patron of the Boston music scene, Billy Ruane, has passed away at the age of 53. Ruane was an integral part of Boston rock for three decades, an unmissable presence at concerts, a tireless chronicler of bands famous, infamous, and undiscovered.  We'll have more details as they become available. 

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