Earlier this morning, it was announced that Isaiah “Ikey” Owens was found dead in his hotel room at the Camino Real Hotel in Pueblo, Mexico. Owens was currently on tour as Jack White’s backing keyboardist in support of White’s second solo studio album, Lazaretto. The Long Beach-bred musician was only 38 years old.
The news came this morning courtesy of Mexico’s Periodico Digital, who reported that there were drugs and alcohol found in the keyboardist’s room. As of now, there have been no reports of an official cause of death, but the investigation is currently underway.
Ikey Owens emerged as an active musician in the late 1990s where he made noise in the Long Beach, California, reggae scene as a keyboardist for the post-Sublime group, Long Beach Dub Allstars. After leaving the group prior to the release of their debut album, Owens continued to thrive in the music world by playing with iconic acts from a variety of different genres, such as, The Aquabats, TV On The Radio, Born Jamericans, Wailing Souls and reggae legend, Barrington Levy. Most notably, Owens began writing and recording his own material under the title, Free Moral Agents. He was also a long-time member of The Mars Volta before more recently joining Jack White (formerly of The White Stripes) on tour around the world in support of his solo project. Owens was last seen on live television performing on the Ellen DeGeneres show on October 9th, 2014.
In a post titled, We Love You, Ikey, found on the homepage of Jack White’s independent record label’s website, Third Man Records, White paid tribute to his touring keyboardist by stating, “It is with great sadness that we tell the world of the passing of the incredible musician Isaiah ‘Ikey’ Owens. He will be missed and loved forever by his family, friends, bandmates and fans. Ikey Owens was an astounding keyboard player in Jack White’s backing band. He also played with Mars Volta, Free Moral Agents, and many other projects. Out of respect for Ikey, the remaining shows of the Jack White Tour in Mexico have been cancelled. We will all miss you Ikey. You were and are an incredible artist.”