Former Dire Straits Guitarist Jack Sonni Dead at 68
The Dire Straits Legacy band with whom he was touring said the musician had been dealing with undisclosed "health problems"
Musician Jack Sonni, who was best known for his tenure as the Dire Straits’ guitarist, has died. He was 68.
Sonni’s death was confirmed by the band Dire Straits Legacy, a group comprised of musicians who recorded and toured with Dire Straits, and with whom Sonni was actively on tour.
“Our beloved Jack has left a void in our heart and soul… we will miss you so much, you are forever with us,” the group wrote on Facebook, adding a broken heart emoji.
Other members paid tribute, too, including keyboardist Alan Clark, who wrote, “It's with a heavy heart that I have to say my friend and Dire Straits' colleague has left us. Rest in peace, amigo.”
Dire Straits’ official X (formerly known as Twitter) account also shared the news, posting a black-and-white photo of Sonni and writing, “Rest in Peace.”
Though a cause of death remains unclear, Dire Straits Legacy wrote on Facebook Monday that Sonni would be unable to play a number of upcoming gigs due to undisclosed “health problems.”
Sonni joined Mark Knopfler and company in Dire Straits for the band’s 1985 No. 1 album Brothers in Arms, which included hits like “Money for Nothing” and “Walk of Life.” He also toured with the group and played at Live Aid, and became known for wearing a signature red suit during performances.
“Jack performs with enthusiasm and a spontaneity that is a joy to behold, and has played with countless top musicians in every corner of the United States, and always with passion and a rock attitude par excellence,” his bio on Dire Straits Legacy reads.
A native of the Northeast, Sonni moved to New York City in 1976 and formed a band called The Leisure Class, according to The Press Democrat.
Though he had dreams of being a rock star, he took a day job at a local music shop, and eventually befriended frequent customers Mark and David Knopfler, Musician magazine reported in a 1985 article.
Following the departure of guitarist Hal Lindes, Mark asked Sonni to hop on the Brothers in Arms record.
"Jack was in a real bad way for a real long time," Mark told Musician. "Frustration, just working at his guitar. I said to him, 'Just one condition. Whatever I do, man, try your damnedest not to let it affect our friendship.'"
“He was born to it. Born to boogie, born to rock; pick your cliché, they all fit Sonni,” Mark added.
Though the band broke up just 18 months later, Sonni — who was a dad to twin daughters born in 1988 — was satisfied with his time as a rock star. He reportedly went on to pursue a career in marketing.
“I got to do what I set out to do… play with all my guitar heroes: Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Bob Dylan and Keith Richards,” he told The Press Democrat in 2013.