Serenaded by screaming teenage girls wherever he went, David Cassidy – who sadly died last week, aged 67 – was once the biggest pop star in the world.
On tour, lovelorn fans tried to book hotel rooms next to the Partridge Family favourite. They woke him in the middle of the night, bothered him constantly for autographs and, in Australia, bombarded him with so many toy koalas and items of underwear, the stage collapsed.
Yet, true contentment eluded the thrice-married singer and actor, who suffered alcoholism, substance abuse and a well- publicised estrangement with only daughter Katie in his later, less successful years.
‘I just want to be happy. I really want to be happy,’ David told People magazine in one of his final interviews last year, poignantly revealing his battle with dementia.
‘If I want to have a great life like I have now, I’ve just got to stay on track. I love that I’ve had an amazing life that has touched millions of people all over the world. I’m flattered. The world needs more kindness.’
But fate was cruel to the 1970s heart-throb, who had always dreaded falling victim to the disease that killed both his grandfather and mother, Evelyn Ward.
‘In the end, the only way I knew Mom recognised me was with one single tear that would drop from her eye every time I walked into the room,’ the father-of-two said in February last year. ‘I feared I would end up that way.’
The only mercy was that multiple organ failure claimed the I Think I Love You hitmaker’s life – on Tuesday, November 21, at a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida – before dementia stole his mind completely.
A statement released by his publicist simply said: ‘David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long.’
Among the family farewelling him was actress daughter Katie, the former Melrose Place star with whom he had been at odds.
‘I wasn’t her father,’ he sadly told one reporter last year. ‘I was her biological father, but I didn’t raise her. She has a completely different life.’
David first shot to global fame as clean-cut Keith Partridge in TV sitcom The Partridge Family, which launched in 1970. David’s real-life stepmother Shirley Jones played his mum in the show about a family band on the road. It rapidly became a smash hit and launched Cassidy’s music career when the TV band achieved a series of six gold albums in two years.
And, over the years, he retained a deep affection for his fans.
‘I’m kind of in awe of them. Truly,’ he told People. ‘To be that connected and supportive of someone, it’s a very beautiful and emotional thing for me... everything – it has more meaning.’
Cassidy is survived by daughter Katie, his son Beau by ex-wife Sue Shifrin-Cassidy, brothers Shaun, Patrick and Ryan, stepmother Shirley Jones, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
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