On August 27th, 1990, Stevie Ray Vaughan was killed when the helicopter he was flying in, hit a man-made ski slope while trying to navigate through dense fog. Vaughan had played a show at Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, Wisconsin with Robert Cray & His Memphis Horns, and Eric Clapton. Vaughan was informed by a member of Clapton’s crew that three seats were open on a helicopter returning to Chicago with Clapton’s crew, it turned out there was only one seat left; Vaughan requested it from his brother, who obliged. Three members of Eric Clapton’s entourage were also killed.
Vaughan’s memorial was held on August 30, 1990, at Laurel Land Cemetery in Dallas, where he was buried next to his father, and was preceded by a private chapel service for close friends and family. Reverend Barry Bailey of the United Methodist Church in Fort Worth, who was Vaughan’s AA sponsor, opened the service with personal thoughts: “We’re here to thank God for this man’s life. He was a genius, a superstar, a musician’s musician. He captured the hearts of thousands and thousands of people. I am thankful for the impact of this man’s influence on thousands of people in getting his own life together in the name of God.”
In the months that followed his death, Vaughan sold over 5.5 million albums in the United States. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Stevie Ray Vaughan #7 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitarist’s of all time.