According to what his wife told the LA Times immediately following his death, Phil Everly died from complications of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) developed over "a lifetime of cigarette smoking."
"We are absolutely heartbroken," Patti Everly told the Times of her husband. "He fought long and hard."
Phil Everly Died From COPD Brought on by Smoking, Says Wife
With hits such as "All I Have to Do Is Dream," "Bye Bye Love," and "Let It Be Me," Phil and Don Everly were a musical force to be reckoned with. The country rock icons saw their heyday in the 50s and 60s, but their music has stood the test of time and influenced generations of musicians who came after them. (For a perfect example of the latter, see video with musician Graham Nash above.)
In 2003, the brothers joined Simon and Garfunkel in a dual-reunion world tour, which saw good commercial success. Seeing the demand from their longtime fans and building on it, the Everly Brothers also toured in 2004 and 2005.
Though the brothers consistently produced a beautiful harmony musically and vocally, their personal relationship was complex and sometimes destructive. In one of the most notorious on-stage displays of sibling rivalry to date, Phil and Don Everly actually split up during a show and refused to speak to one another for years as a result.
If news that Phil Everly died as a terrible result of cigarette smoking is enough to make you second-guess your own bad habit, you can find smoking cessation help here. Quit now for better health and a happier 2014!