Brit Turner, drummer for Blackberry Smoke, dies at 57 after brain cancer battle


Country rock band Blackberry Smoke is mourning one of its own: drummer Brit Turner, who died after a battle with brain cancer.

“It is with the deepest sorrow that we inform everyone that our brother Brit Turner has moved on from this life,” the Atlanta group announced in a Monday Facebook post. “If you had the privilege of knowing Brit on any level, you know he was the most caring, empathetic, driven and endearing person one could ever hope to meet.”

A publicist for the “One Horse Town” group confirmed news of the drummer’s death to The Times. Turner was 57.

Turner was a founding member of Blackberry Smoke, which formed in 2000 in Atlanta. For more than 20 years, Turner brought his drumming talents to songs including “Waiting for the Thunder,” “Good One Comin’ On” and “Sleeping Dogs.”

He performed alongside lead vocalist Charlie Starr, bass player and brother Richard Turner, guitarist Paul Jackson and keyboardist Brandon Still. The group released its first album “Bad Luck Ain’t No Crime” in 2003, and its second album “Little Piece of Dixie” six years later.

Blackberry Smoke’s 2015 release “Holding All The Roses” debuted at the top spot on Billboard’s Country Albums chart.

Earlier this year, Blackberry Smoke dropped its latest album “Be Right Here” and announced United States and Europe tour dates. The “Ain’t Much Left of Me” band’s next stop is at Denver’s Ogden Theatre on Thursday. On June 2, the group is set to take over the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles with singer-songwriter Cody Jinks.

Amid news of Turner’s death, it’s unclear whether the Blackberry Smoke tour will proceed as scheduled.

Turner, who used his Blackberry Smoke fame to benefit cancer charities, was diagnosed with glioblastoma in the fall of 2022, according to the band’s Facebook post. The Mayo Clinic defines glioblastoma as a type of cancer that “starts as a growth of cells in the brain or spinal cord.” The cancer grows quickly and can impact and destroy healthy tissue.

“[Turner] fought every day,” the band said.

Blackberry Smoke and Turner shared his diagnosis with fans in a statement shared to Facebook in November 2022. The message informed fans that the drummer’s “aggressive treatment” would keep him from traveling and performing live.

“Make no mistake, this will be a hard road but we choose to do this the same way we do everything else,” the statement said. “We choose to be positive, we choose hard work, we choose to fight this every step of the way with our brother Bit and we chose to do this together #YouGotThisBrit.”

Turner also kept his social media followers in the loop about his health, writing in May 2023, “things are moving in the right direction.”

“Brit was Blackberry Smoke’s True North, the compass that instituted the ideology that will continue to guide this band,” Blackberry Smoke said.

In addition to his brother, Turner is survived by his wife of 20 years Shannon Sorrells Turner, and their daughter, “Stranger Things” and “Sweet Magnolias” actor Lana Jean Turner.

“I love you forever daddy,” Lana Jean wrote in an Instagram story shared Sunday.





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