(RNN) - David Cassidy, a singer who rose to major teen-heartthrob status in the 1970s with his starring role in TV's "The Partridge Family," died Tuesday after suffering multiple organ failure, his longtime publicist reported. He was 67.
In the early ‘70s, Cassidy became an instant sensation as Keith Partridge on "The Partridge Family," which ran from 1971 to 1974. The show, about a rock band made up of a widow and her five kids, also starred Cassidy’s stepmother, actress Shirley Jones, who was famous for her screen and Broadway roles. Jones married Jack Cassidy, also a singer/actor, in 1956, after he divorced David Cassidy's mother, Evelyn, who was also an actress.
Cassidy’s fame skyrocketed during the show's run as he set out on a solo career, releasing five solo albums - including pop hits like "I Think I Love You" - that sold a more than 1 million copies internationally and playing to sell-out crowds at venues including the Houston Astrodome, Dodger Stadium and Madison Square Gardens. But his super stardom was short-lived.
Rolling Stone, in its Top 25 Teen Idol Breakout Moments, reported, “From the second the Partridge Family began airing, David Cassidy was an icon to legions of teenage girls. Like many other teen stars, he had soft, feminine features, looked a bit younger than his actual age, and was extremely non-threatening....but it inevitably ended after a few years and Cassidy found himself a has-been before he was 24.”
Cassidy quit touring and acting in The Partridge Family in 1974 to concentrate on recording. While his star faded in the US, he was still a huge name in Great Britain, Germany and Japan.But in an interview for a British documentary about his stardom, Cassidy admitted he never wanted the adoration and lamented that people weren't aware that he was an actual musician, not just a pop sensation.
"I didn't want to be famous. For me, the ambition was really doing something that made me tick, that made the juices flow," he said. "And that was acting, that was writing, that was singing, that was performing."
Though his fame was fleeting, Cassidy was nominated for two Grammy Awards, for "I Think I Love You" and "Cherish," and two Emmy Awards, for an episode of "Police Story" and for his own short-lived TV series, "David Cassidy: Man Undercover," which inspired the hit series "21 Jump Street."
Cassidy was married and divorced three times. He has a son, Beau, from his third marriage, to Sue Shifrin, and a daughter, actress Katie Cassidy, from a relationship with actress Sherry Williams.
Though he would never relive the glory days of Cassidy-mania, he continued to perform on Broadway, in Las Vegas concerts and in TV appearances - including a gig as a contestant on "The Apprentice" in 2011 - through the mid-2000s. In recent years, Cassidy publicly addressed his multiple DUI arrests and addictions. In February, 2017, he revealed that he was suffering from dementia.
After news of his death broke, fellow musicians and actors, friends and fans shared their memories of Cassidy on social media.
I grew up in an era before even cable TV, when The Partridge Family was already in reruns. David Cassidy's Keith was one of my favorite TV characters. He was legit funny AND he could sing. The man entertained me during my childhood and even years later: https://t.co/678DU7qTxh— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) November 22, 2017
so sad to hear of the passing of david cassidy... he was always so kind to me - such a pleasure to have had him on my show... sending love and prayers to his family... R.I.P. friend ?? pic.twitter.com/tsFkNiJzFc— Harry Connick Jr (@HarryConnickJR) November 22, 2017
So sorry to hear about David Cassidy's passing. Godspeed. pic.twitter.com/JpKs2VNvZw— Rick Springfield (@rickspringfield) November 22, 2017
I’m very sad to hear about David Cassidy. There were times in the mid-1970s when he would come over to my house and we even started writing a song together. He was a very talented and nice person. Love & Mercy to David and his family.— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) November 22, 2017
Heartbroken over the passing of #DavidCassidy. He graced the covers of teen magazines w/ my Brothers in the ‘70s. My condolences to his Family. ???? #RIP #PartridgeFamily #DavidsHitSong #70sIcon #IWokeUpInLoveThisMorning pic.twitter.com/EUJXr8YBwb— Marie Osmond (@marieosmond) November 22, 2017
Copyright 2017 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.