Music World Mourns Death of Audio and Mix Engineer Ethan Willoughby

Ethan

Willoughby, a Grammy award nominated audio and mix engineer, has died.

The father

of two, who worked with various artists such as Busta Rhymes, Common, the Game

and the Black Eyed Peas, was killed Sunday (Feb. 18) after being hit by a drunk

driver. "Ethan

was one of the few people I trusted with my music, to mix it and make it sound

perfect," said Black Eyed Peas member will.i.am, who described Willoughby

as "one of the nicest, kindest people that God blessed us with."

Born in Evansville,

Wisconsin, Willoughby started his music career working as an assistant under his

mentor, famed mix engineer Dave Pensado, at The Enterprise Studio in North Hollywood,

CA. During

that time, he worked on projects for various entertainers including Pink, Christina

Aguilera, Brian McKnight, Jessica Simpson, Mya, Lionel Richie, Destiny’s Child

and Justin Timberlake, who benefited from Willoughby’s work on his debut album,

Justified. The

Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences graduate’s passion for music made

him stand out among people, according to Pensado. "Of

all the people I’ve known in the music business, Ethan had the purest love and

enjoyment for what he did," he said. "Everyone he touched was better

off for knowing him." After

two and a half years working under Pensado, Willoughby carved his own niche as

a lead engineer as he worked alongside will.i.am on Bob Marley’s, "Africa

Unite"(will.i.am remix) as well as music from the Black Eyed Peas.The

Peas as well as the Rolling Stones, Fergie, Sergio Mendes, Macy Gray, John Legend

and Kelis have collaborated with Willoughby during his career. Justified

proved the be the first of Willoughby’s projects with Timberlake as the pair re-teamed

for the singer’s latest album FutureSex/LoveSounds. "I

am deeply saddened by this loss… Ethan Willoughby was not only an amazing talent

in the studio, but also an amazing person. We will all miss his presence and his

love for music," said Timberlake. "We love you dearly, Ethan and we

will carry on your love for what we hold so dear. A true gift to our industry…

A loyal friend to me. See you in the next one, my man." Willoughby’s

work on FutureSex/LoveSounds earned him a 2007 Grammy nomination for Album

of the Year. The

acknowledgment served as a fulfillment of the engineer’s life-long dream of being

nominated for a Grammy before the age of 30. Willoughby

is the latest casualty to have died from drunk drivers. A November 30,

2006 report from www.dui.com stated that alcohol-related accident victims numbering

17,000 were killed in the country in 2005, with 4,300 deaths occurring in what

the site labeled as the "Fatal Fifteen" states. Those

states, in which 41 percent or more of traffic-related casualties are caused by

alcohol-related incidents, include Washington D.C., Hawaii, Rhode Island, Montana,

Delaware, Alaska, North Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, Texas, Connecticut, South

Dakota, Illinois, South Carolina and Arizona.

Willoughby is survived by his wife, Stephanie Cooper-Willoughby; daughters, Ava

and Mycheala; sister, Catherine; and parents, John and Barbara Willoughby.

A memorial

will be held in honor of Willoughby at 11 a.m. Saturday (Feb. 24) at Morning View

Studios in Malibu, CA. For details on the memorial services, visit ethanwilloughby.com.

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