It was 40 years ago today (September 25th, 1980) that Led Zeppelin's John Bonham died of pulmonary edema, which is fluid accumulation in the lungs. The legendary drummer was just 32-years-old, and found dead by Zeppelin sound technician Benji LeFevre and bassist John Paul Jones. The clinical cause of death was asphyxiation from vomit and an autopsy found no other drugs in his body. Bonham was cremated on October 10th, 1980, and his ashes were buried at Rushock Parish Church in Droitwich, Worcestershire.
Led Zeppelin was set to begin its next North American tour on October 17th, 1980 inMontreal. On December 4th, the band issued a formal statement announcing their split, which read: “We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend, and the deep sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were.”
Back in 2018 when pressed about Led Zeppelin's upcoming 50th anniversary, a somewhat somber Robert Plant explained to Mojo that Bonham's death still cast a long shadow, saying, “It’s 50 years, but it’s not 50 years — it’s 38 years of darkness for a family. So all that hullabaloo is great, and I’m sure there’ll be some great things to come out of it. . . I really can’t wait to hear (the archival releases) — I might even get a free copy.”