Combo Deluxe! musician dies in apparent suicide

Combo Deluxe musician William "Bill" J. Donahue reportedly took his own life Saturday.

According to Cottonwood police, officers responded to a report of a possible suicide at about 8:30 p.m. in the 900 block of Cactus Street in Cottonwood. Officers reported that they found Donahue in a vehicle with a gunshot wound to his head.

According to the police report, a female caller reported to police that she heard a gunshot and then saw a vehicle roll down a hill and crash into a fence.

Police reported that officers responded with Cottonwood Fire Department personnel and determined that Donahue was dead.

Police report that Donahue's body was transported to the Yavapai County Medical Examiner's Office in Prescott.

Donahue, 54, of Cottonwood, played keyboards for the popular area band Combo Deluxe. The four-member ensemble was comprised of Llory McDonald on vocals and lead guitar, Charlie Mossman on drums, Bob Henke on bass guitar and Donahue on keyboards.

The band's eclectic style of music drew crowds to area venues such as the Spirit Room in Jerome and Casa Rincon in Sedona. Donahue and McDonald frequently performed as Duo Deluxe at Kactus Kate's in Old Town.

Born in Chicago in 1949, Donahue started playing piano at age 4 and, at 15, he was offered a job with "The Circle," whom The Beatles had opened for.

Combo Deluxe came together originally in 1994 when McDonald moved to Arizona from Los Angeles. Donahue joined the band about four years later after retiring from the Nashville music circuit.

Donahue had spent 24 years as a road musician out of Nashville and played keyboards with numerous performers including Kathy Mattea, Dobie Gray, First Villagers Band and Johnny Rodriguez.

He has also opened for Young Rascals, The Turtles, Joe Cocker, Fifth Dimension, Randy Travis, Ray Charles, Vince Gill, Ronnie Milsap, Kenny Rogers, Hank Williams, Jr., Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and George Strait.

He joined Combo Deluxe in March of 1999.

Donahue was once quoted as saying Combo Deluxe was the best rock 'n' roll band he had ever heard.


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