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