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Co-founder of Yonder Mountain String Band passes away in Seattle

Jeff Austin, 45, was a solo artist and a founding member of Nederland-based Yonder Mountain String Band.

SEATTLE — Jeff Austin, a singer, mandolinist and co-founder of the Nederland bluegrass group Yonder Mountain String Band has passed away. 

“It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of a beloved family member, mandolinist, singer, songwriter and founder of The Jeff Austin Band, and Yonder Mountain String Band, Jeff Austin," a post on Jeff Austin's Facebook page says. 

Austin passed away June 24 in Seattle, Washington, according to the post. He was 45 years old. 

"He was son of Eileen Austin, husband to Devlyn, and father to Lily Rose (12), Penelope (5), and Jude Patrick (2). He was a dear friend whose music touched the lives of so many, and will be sorely missed," the post continues.

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of a beloved family member, mandolinist, singer, songwriter and founder of The Jeff Austin Band, and Yonder Mountain String Band, Jeff Austin....

In 1998, while working at a bar in Nederland, Austin met Adam Aijala and Ben Kaufmann, with whom he and Dave Johnston eventually formed the Yonder Mountain String Band. After 15 years with the band, Austin left in early 2014 to pursue a solo career. 

“Jeff Austin’s tremendous impact on our community will never be forgotten,” a Facebook post from AEG Presents Rocky Mountains says: “So many lives were connected and inspired by Jeff and we have endless memories, both on the stage and off. Our thoughts are with the Austin family, and we encourage music fans far and wide to support his family in this time of need.

On Saturday, Austin announced on his Facebook page that he was canceling three upcoming performance dates due to a medical emergency.  A relief fund for his family has since been established through a Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.  

An official cause of death has not been released. 

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