Celtic Thunder's principal singer George Donaldson, 46, died Wednesday after suffering a massive heart attack at his home in Glasgow, Scotland. His wife, Carolyn, and his daughter, Sarah, 13, who he described as the “light of my life,” survive him.
Born and raised in Glasgow, Donaldson was a self-taught musician, accomplished on both guitar and flute, with a lifelong passion for Celtic music inspired by his late father Bernard.
Donaldson joined Celtic Thunder in 2007 after auditioning for the show’s producer Sharon Browne and helped to establish the show’s trademark celebration of Irish and Scottish heritage. Known in Celtic Thunder as the “steadfast” one, Donaldson carried the distinction of being the sole Scotsman in the show, as well as the only married family man of the group.
He appeared in all nine Celtic Thunder concert specials and on all of the show’s CDs and DVDs released to date, the most recent being last year’s "Mythology." A hugely successful touring act, Donaldson and Celtic Thunder performed to audiences around the world, with highlights including St. Patrick’s Day parades in Chicago, Boston, and New York City, as well as President and Mrs. Obama’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the White House.
In addition to his beloved work with Celtic Thunder, Donaldson was a well-established artist in his own right, acclaimed as one of the finest singer/songwriters in the ever-vibrant Glasgow folk scene. He won the Irish Music Awards in both 2011 and 2012. His first solo CD, entitled "The White Rose," was released to critical acclaim in 2011, as was last year’s follow-up, "The World In My Mind."
Celtic Thunder has requested that their fans respect the family’s privacy and restrict their comments and messages for the family to the website here.