Jack Sonni, former Dire Straits guitarist, dies at 68

Jack Sonni, former Dire Straits guitarist, dies at 68

Jack Sonni, the musician best known for being "the other guitarist" in Dire Straits, has died, his former band members announced on Thursday. He was 68. A cause of death is currently unknown.

The official Facebook account for Dire Straits Legacy, a band that Sonni participated in alongside other former members of Dire Straits, shared the news.

"Our beloved Jack has left a void in our heart and soul," the statement reads. "We will miss you so much. You are forever with us."

Born Dec. 9, 1954 in Indiana, Penn., Sonni was drawn to music at an early age. He moved to New York in the '70s and began working as a session player. While working at a music shop in 1978, he met brothers David and Mark Knopfler, who had founded Dire Straits the year before with bassist John Illsley and drummer Pick Withers.

He joined the band for the recording sessions for their 1985 album Brothers in Arms, which became their most commercially successful record. He also accompanied the band on the subsequent tour, and became known as "the other guitarist" since both Knopfler brothers played the instrument as well.

"So sorry to hear the sad news that Jack Sonni has died, we loved having him with us on the Brothers in Arms tour, fond memories," Illsley wrote on Facebook.

Jack Sonni of the Dire Straits
Jack Sonni of the Dire Straits

Davide Pischettola/NurPhoto via Getty Images Jack Sonni performing on stage with Dire Straits Legacy

Sonni nominally retired from music in 1988 when his twin daughters were born, but returned to the stage in recent years to perform in groups like Dire Straits Legacy, a Knopfler-less group featuring Dire Straits alums. Sonni took a job as vice president of marketing for Guitar Center, and also tried his hand at writing crime fiction. As recently as June 2, Sonni posted on Facebook that he was working on "getting my novel in shape for my agent's publisher hunt." Alongside a photo of his typewriter, he shared a list of influences, including Ann Patchett's Bel Canto and Denis Johnson's Already Dead.

On June 1, Sonni shared a meditative post telling his friends and followers to "be in the moment. Celebrate the here and now. Don't dwell in the past. Cherish the memories. And above all — hug them while you can, chilluns."

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