David Bruce Cassidy (April 12, 1950 – November 21, 2017) was an American actor, singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He was best known for his role as Keith Partridge, the son of Shirley Partridge (played by his stepmother, Shirley Jones), in the 1970s musical-sitcom The Partridge Family. This role catapulted Cassidy to teen idol status as a superstar pop singer of the 1970s.
On February 20, 2017, following a performance in Agoura Hills, California, in which Cassidy had difficulty remembering the lyrics of songs he had been performing for nearly 50 years, and appeared to fall off the stage, he announced that he was living with dementia and was retiring from all further performing. He said that his mother and grandfather had also suffered from dementia at the end of their lives, and that “I was in denial, but a part of me always knew this was coming.”
Later in 2017, Cassidy fell ill at a recording studio and was hospitalized. In a later phone conversation with an A&E producer, he stated that he had just met with his doctor, that he had liver disease, and that his life had “changed dramatically.” Cassidy added that he had been unconscious and near death for the first few days after the incident, but that his memory had returned. Cassidy also acknowledged that there was “no sign of [dementia] at this stage of [his] life,” adding that “[it] was complete alcohol poisoning—and the fact is, I lied about my drinking.” Cassidy said, “You know, I did it to myself, man. I did it to myself to cover up the sadness and the emptiness.” Cassidy had told his family and others that he had given up drinking.
On November 18, 2017, it was announced that Cassidy had been hospitalized with liver and kidney failure, and was critically ill in a medically induced coma. He came out of the coma two days later, remaining in critical but stable condition. Doctors hoped to keep Cassidy stable until a liver became available for transplant, but he died of liver failure on November 21, 2017, at the age of 67. According to his daughter, Katie Cassidy, his final words were “So much wasted time.”