Pegi Young: Musician, activist and ex wife of Neil Young dies after cancer battle

(Image credit: Tim Mosenfelder - Getty)

Pegi Young, the ex wife of Neil Young and co-founder of the Bridge School, has died at the age of 66.

The news was confirmed on her official Instagram account earlier today.

A statement reads: “With great sadness, we confirm that on January 1, after a year-long battle with cancer, Pegi Young – mother, grandmother, sister, auntie, musician, activist and co-founder of the Bridge School – passed away surrounded by her friends and family in her native California. We request that the families' privacy be respected at this time.”

Pegi met Neil Young when she was working as a waitress at a restaurant in California and she had been the subject of a number of his tracks down the years, including 1992’s Unknown Legend which he wrote about their meeting.

Pegi recorded several solo albums, toured with her band The Survivors, and also performed backing vocals with Young.

The couple founded the Bridge School for children with severe physical and speech impairments in 1986 after their son Ben was born with cerebral palsy, but they later split, with Neil Young filing divorce papers in July 2014.

Her final album, 2016’s Raw, was directly inspired by the break-up, with Pegi telling Rolling Stone: “I look at it as a soundtrack to the seven stages of grief. 

“You’ve got anger, then shock and disbelief. As we go through the album, the later songs show my growth and, I can’t say total acceptance, but I think the last song, that wonderful Don Henley song The Heart Of The Matter, talks about forgiveness. That’s really where it’s at.”

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.