Ethan Willoughby, the Grammy nominated audio and mix engineer that helped shape albums by Black Eyed Peas, Busta Rhymes and Destiny’s Child, was struck and killed by a drunk driver in a car accident last Sunday (February 18th).
Willoughby, 30, earned an engineering and production degree at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Tempe, AZ. He was mentored in music training by famed engineer Dave Pensado before making the transition to lead engineer. Mr. Willoughby would go on to work with Busta Rhymes, the Game, Brian McKnight, Common, Mya, Lionel Richie, Justin Timberlake, and Christina Aguilera.
The Black Eyed Peas’ Will.i.am, who established a relationship with Ethan Willoughby while working on a remix of Bob Marley’s “Africa Unite,” described him as “one of the nicest, kindest people that God blessed us with.”
“Ethan was one of the few people I trusted with my music, to mix it and make it sound perfect,” said will.i.am.
Willoughby was nominated for Album of the Year at the 49th Grammy Awards for his work on Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds. Justin expressed sadness over the loss of his friend and collaborator: "I am deeply saddened by this loss. Ethan Willoughby was not only an amazing talent in the studio, but also an amazing person. We will all miss his presence and his love for music. We love you dearly, Ethan and we will carry on your love for what we hold so dear. A true gift to our industry.”
Ethan is survived by his wife, Stephanie Cooper-Willoughby and daughters, Ava and Mycheala. He also left behind sister, Catherine; and parents, John and Barbara Willoughby. A memorial will be held in his honor at Morning View Studios in Malibu, CA on Saturday, February 24th at 11 AM.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the friends and family of Ethan Willoughby.