Syd Barrett Biography

Syd Barrett Claim to Fame: Singer, Songwriter, Musician (Pink Floyd)
DOB: January 6, 1946
Date of Death: July 7, 2006
Diabetes Type: 2

Born in England to a middle-class family in 1946, Syd Barrett was always encouraged in his music. He attended Cambridgeshire High School for Boys, and later in 1964 enrolled in Camberwell art school in South London, only a year before putting together his first band.

Soon after his year long stint in art school, Barrett joined a band called "The Tea Set". After playing a gig with a band of the same name however, Barrett came up with the calling card "Pink Floyd".

They began by playing cover versions of American R&B songs, but by 1966 they had their own style, improvised rock and roll which drew from jazz and British pop-rock. Pink Floyd quickly became the most popular musical group of the London Underground psychedelic music scene.

Their first three singles "Arnold Layne", "See Emily Play" and "Apples and Oranges" were all written by Barrett. Not only was he the driving force behind these mega hits, but he was the principal visionary/author of their debut album "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn".

However, with his success came increasing pressure and stress. This along with his experimentation with drugs caused his behavior to become more and more unpredictable. During shows, Barrett would be seen strumming only one chord through the entire concert, or simply not playing at all. Eventually his band mates grew tired of his erratic behavior and in March of 1968 it was officially announced that he was no longer a member of Pink Floyd.

After leaving the band, Barrett had a brief solo career during which he released two albums, "The Madcap Laughs" and "Barrett." Soon after, Barrett distanced himself from the public eye and withdrew from the music industry.

He retreated to his late mother's home in Cambridge where he lived by himself. He took back up his original art-form of painting and was also said to have been an avid gardener. Barrett spent the last of his days here, out of the public eye as much as possible. He passed away on July 7, 2006. Although his death was usually reported as a result of "complications from diabetes", it was in fact due to pancreatic cancer.

Find more famous musicians with diabetes.

Last Modified Date: February 12, 2014

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by Brenda Bell
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