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Mars Williams Death: At 68!

Mars Williams, the Grammy-nominated saxophonist known for his electrifying saxophone melodies, has sadly passed away at the age of 68. He had been battling ampullary cancer, a rare form of cancer affecting the bile duct and pancreas, for the past year.

The news of his death was confirmed by his family on his GoFundMe page, where they expressed their deep sadness and gratitude for the love and support Mars received during his fight against cancer. He was surrounded by his loved ones, both near and far, who held him close until the end.

Mars Williams Death

The Psychedelic Furs shared heartbreaking news on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday. They bid farewell to the legendary Mars Williams, who passed away at the age of 68. Along with their post, they shared a photo of his saxophone. Williams was a true saxophone player who found joy in playing the instrument.

Musician John Zorn praised Williams’ talent in the liner notes of his 1984 duo album Eftsoons, stating that he redefined versatility for modern saxophone players. Williams’ music was always exciting, no matter the situation. Rest in peace, Mars Williams.

mars williams death cause

The Chicago Tribune, Williams’ hometown newspaper, was the first to confirm his passing and revealed that ampullary cancer was the cause of his death. He had been diagnosed with this rare form of cancer a year ago.

During the Waitresses’ brief but influential period from 1980 to 1983, Williams’ saxophone played a crucial role. His talent could be heard on their iconic tracks such as “Christmas Wrapping,” “Square Pegs,” and “I Know What Boys Like,” as well as on saxophone-driven hidden gems like the title track of their album “Bruiseology.”

mars williams death cause


The Waitresses broke up around the same time that Williams was invited by the Psychedelic Furs to fill in for their saxophonist during a tour abroad in 1983. This temporary gig ended up lasting until 1989. After a break, Williams rejoined the Furs in 2005 and continued performing with them until their recent tour, which concluded in October.

where did mars williams died?

Sad news today as we learn about the passing of Mars Williams, the talented saxophonist known for his work with the Psychedelic Furs and the Waitresses. According to the Chicago Tribune, Williams lost his battle with ampullary cancer in his hometown, a diagnosis he received nearly a year ago. The Psychedelic Furs expressed their deep sorrow on social media, stating that they were devastated by the news. Mars Williams was 68 years old.

who is mars williams?

Mars Williams, born on May 29, 1955, was a talented saxophonist known for his contributions to jazz and rock music. He was part of The Waitresses, an American new wave band, from 1980 to 1983, and later joined The Psychedelic Furs, a British post-punk band, from 1983 to 1989 and again from 2005 until his passing in 2023.

who is mars williams

Additionally, Williams co-founded the acid jazz group Liquid Soul and was a member of the NRG Ensemble, which focused on free jazz. His passion for music began at a young age, influenced by his father’s love for swing and Dixieland jazz. Initially playing the clarinet, he eventually switched to the saxophone during his final year of high school, inspired by the likes of Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane, and Charlie Parker.

Williams further honed his skills by attending DePaul University and studying under renowned musicians Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell at the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. In recognition of his talent, he was chosen as the featured artist for the Moers Festival in 2004.

mars williams songs
  • Love My Way Forever Now · 1982
  • The Ghost In You (Mirror Moves · 1984)
  • Christmas Wrapping (Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful? · 1982)
  • I Know What Boys Like (Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful? · 1982)
  • Pretty in Pink (Talk Talk Talk · 1981)
  • Heartbreak Beat (Midnight to Midnight · 1987)
  • Heaven (Mirror Moves · 1984)
  • Sister Europe (The Psychedelic Furs · 1980)
  • Until She Comes (World Outside · 1991)
  • All That Money Wants(All of This and Nothing · 1988)
  • President Gas(Forever Now · 1982)
  • Here Come Cowboys(Mirror Moves · 1984)
  • Square Pegs(The Best of The Waitresses · 1990)
  • 14.India (The Psychedelic Furs · 1980)
  • Heartbeat (Mirror Moves · 1984)
  • Into You Like a Train (Talk Talk Talk · 1981)
  • What’s Gone Wrong (Live and Let Dance · 1984)
  • Run and Run(Forever Now · 1982)
  • Angels Don’t Cry (Midnight to Midnight · 1987)
  • Mr. Jones (Talk Talk Talk · 1981)
  • Dumb Waiters (Talk Talk Talk · 1981)
  • I Wanna Sleep With You (Talk Talk Talk · 1981)
  • Wrong Train (Made of Rain · 2020)
  • Free Yourself (Live and Let Dance · 1984)
  • Forever Now (Forever Now · 1982
  • Highwire Days (Mirror Moves · 1984)
  • Imitation of Christ (The Psychedelic Furs · 1980)
  • All of This and Nothing (Talk Talk Talk · 1981)
  • She Is Mine (Talk Talk Talk · 1981)
  • Alice’s House (Forever Now · 1982)
  • Pulse (The Psychedelic Furs · 1980)
  • Goodbye (Forever Now · 1980)

Related post: What kind of saxophone does Mars Williams play?

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