Beach Boys cofounder Brian Wilson shared Tuesday that his longtime wife Melinda Ledbetter has died. She was 77.
Wilson announced the news in an Instagram post, jointly captioned with his five children, in which he detailed the emotional battle he and his family are fighting.
“My heart is broken. Melinda, my beloved wife of 28 years, passed away this morning. Our five children and I are just in tears. We are lost,” Wilson wrote.
In a second portion of the post, which was coupled with images of Wilson and a solo photo of Ledbetter, Ledbetter’s children shared their thoughts about their mother.
“It is with a heavy heart that we let everyone know that our mom, Melinda Kay Ledbetter Wilson, passed away peacefully this morning at home,” the post read. “She was a force of nature and one of the strongest women you could come by. She was not only a model, our father’s savior and a mother, she was a woman empowered by her spirit with a mission to better everyone she touched. We will miss her but cherish everything she has taught us.”
The post continued: “How to take care of the person next to you without expecting anything in return, how to find beauty in the darkest of places and how to live life as your truest self with honesty and pride. We love you mom. Give Grandma Rose and Pa our love.”
Wilson and Ledbetter met while she was trying to sell him a car back in 1986, and from there, the two dated on and off until they were wed in 1995. The couple’s romance was adapted for the screen as part of the feature film “Love & Mercy,” which starred John Cusack as Wilson and Elizabeth Banks as Ledbetter. The movie detailed Wilson’s journey with mental illness and his production of “Pet Sounds” while he navigated life while under the thumb of his therapist and legal guardian, Eugene Landy.
“Melinda was more than my wife. She was my savior,” Wilson continued in Tuesday’s post. “She gave me the emotional security I needed to have a career. She encouraged me to make the music that was closest to my heart. She was my anchor. She was everything for us. Please say a prayer for her.”
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