Screaming Tree’s bassist Van Conner has died.
The news was confirmed by his brother, Screaming Trees guitarist Gary Lee Conner, in a Facebook post Wednesday morning. Van Conner, 55, had been dealing with a series of health issues in recent years and his brother described the cause of death as an “extended illness,” adding that, “It was pneumonia that got him in the end.”
“He was one of the closest friends I ever had and I loved him immensely,” Gary Lee wrote. “I will miss him forever and ever and ever…”
Screaming Trees were among the cadre of early grunge pioneers that first came to prominence in the 1980s before releasing its major-label debut “Uncle Anesthesia” in 1991. The Ellensburg-formed rockers had a larger commercial breakthrough the following year with their hit single “ Nearly Lost You,” an alt-rock staple of the era featured on the “Singles” soundtrack.
In the past two weeks, Gary Lee Conner had been providing updates on his brother’s health through his Facebook account. According to a Jan. 5 post, Van Conner had been unable to walk “for about a year” and was recently hospitalized with a liver infection, the latest in an “array of health problems” since an emergency stomach surgery in late 2021.
The Conner brothers formed Screaming Trees in the mid-’80s alongside drummer Mark Pickerel and singer Mark Lanegan, recording eight studio albums before eventually disbanding in 2000. Lanegan died just last year at age 57.