Bruce Guthro, lead singer of Scottish band Runrig, dies aged 62

Bruce Guthro of Runrig (RUTCHEN/YouTube)
Bruce Guthro of Runrig (RUTCHEN/YouTube)

Bruce Guthro, the former frontman of Scottish Celtic rock band Runrig, has died, aged 62.

The Canadian lead singer’s death was announced on Wednesday (6 September) by the band, who said Guthro’s death came after a years-long battle with cancer.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts and profound sadness that we inform you of the news that Bruce passed away last night [5 September], having finally lost a long battle with cancer that has stretched back many years,” the band announced in a statement.

“Everyone associated with Runrig is heart broken at the loss of a dear friend and such a special musical colleague.”

Following the news, Guthro’s friend and former bandmate, SNP MP Pete Wishart, told BBC Radio Scotland’s Drivetime programme: “We’ve lost a friend, but we will never get to hear this wonderful voice singing voice live again.”

His death comes nearly a week after his 62nd birthday on 31 August.

Guthro was born in Nova Scotia, Canada in 1961. He began his 40-year music career as a solo artist, releasing his debut album, Sails to the Wind, in 1994.

He joined Runrig in 1998, which helped the rock band gain considerable attention in Canada. Guthro stayed with the group until they eventually retired in 2018.

The band announced their plans for retirement in 2016 after the release of their 14th and final studio album, The Story.

They then embarked on their farewell tour, The Last Dance, in 2017, before wrapping up their final show in August 2018 in Scotland’s Stirling City Park for an estimated 52,000 fans.

In the years following Runrig’s retirement, Guthro continued performing with his two adult children, Dylan and Jodie, as the Guthro Trio.

He also frequently hosted his own Songwriters Circle, in which he, along with three special guests, would perform a number of their most popular hits at an event space in Halifax.

“He was such a gifted singer and a powerful performer,” fellow Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis remembered of Guthro in a tribute. “It was one of the greatest privileges for me to sing with him onstage and backstage over the years.”