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Screaming Trees co-founder Van Conner dies

Van Conner, the co-founder, bassist and songwriter for the alternative rock band Screaming Trees, has died.

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He was 55, Variety reported.

His brother and band co-founder Gary Lee Conner said that Van Conner died Tuesday night after an extended illness, but that he succumbed to pneumonia.

“He was one of the closest friends I ever had and I loved him immensely. I will miss him forever and ever and ever,” Gary Lee wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

The Screaming Trees was founded by the Lee brothers, singer Mark Lanegan and drummer Mark Pickerel in Ellensburg, Washington, according to Variety.

They released several low-budget recordings on Velvetone before signing with SST Records. Their sound evolved into the grunge and alternative movement when Nirvana took off. Lanegan was friends with Kurt Cobain.

After several releases such as “Buzz Factory” and “Invisible Lantern,” Screaming Trees signed with Epic Records in 1989, releasing “Uncle Anesthesia” which was co-produced by Chris Cornell of Soundgarden.

The band hit the mainstream when their song, “Nearly Lost You,” was included in the soundtrack for the Cameron Crowe film, “Singles.” It reached No. 5 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart.

The song also appeared on the Billboard 200 chart, according to Deadline.

The group also performed at Lollapalooza.

After disagreements between Gary Lee Connor and Lanegan, and a lull in production, they recorded new songs in 1999, which were not published until 2011 as the “Last Words: The Final Recordings.”

In all, Screaming Trees released seven albums, five EPs and three compilation albums, KIRO reported.

Bandmates split to pursue solo projects. Van Lee started his band Gardener and worked with Valis, Kitty Kitty and Dinosaur Jr., and on Gary Lee Connor’s and Lanegan’s projects, Variety reported.

Lanegan died in February at the age of 57, KIRO reported.

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