By Meghan Carey
The Salem News
Brad Delp's death was a suicide, his family said.
The 55-year-old Danvers High School alumnus and famed lead singer for the band Boston died of carbon monoxide poisoning after he sealed himself in the master bathroom of his Atkinson, N.H., home and ignited fires in two charcoal grills, Atkinson police Lt. William Baldwin said.
Delp's family released a statement on the death through Atkinson police after what Baldwin called an "emotional" meeting yesterday afternoon at the police station.
The brief statement suggested there was trouble in the rock 'n' roll frontman's life, without giving details.
"He was a man who gave all he had to give to everyone around him, whether family, friends, fans or strangers," the statement said. "He gave as long as he could, as best he could, and he was very tired. We take comfort in knowing that he is now, at last, at peace."
Delp left two notes taped to a door of the house and letters to his family and his fiancée, Pamela Sullivan. Baldwin said police do not know the contents of the letters.
Sullivan found Delp's body just after 1 p.m. on Friday. She had been out with friends the night before and had tried calling him three times before she went to the house on Academy Avenue, according to police.
Sullivan's 911 call said she found a hose running into the house from a vehicle. Baldwin said the hose, which was visible from the street, may have been part of a backup suicide plan.
Carbon monoxide from the burning charcoal is what killed Delp, Baldwin said. Toxicology tests by the state medical examiner's office confirmed the cause of death.
The family's statement said Sullivan, Delp's children and their mother, Delp's ex-wife, Micki Delp, were grateful for the sympathy they have received. They asked that their privacy be respected.
Following a private funeral, a public memorial will be scheduled, the family said last week.
Gardner Berry, a fellow musician, said he was surprised to learn that Delp took his own life. He said he only saw Delp at gigs, when Delp was always upbeat. Berry said music is what made them both happy.
Delp e-mailed Berry a couple of weeks ago and said he planned to see Berry's Led Zeppelin cover band Four Sticks play at Whippersnappers in Londonderry, N.H., tonight.
"I didn't really know the dark side of him," Berry said, "which there was, apparently."
Berry said he had heard that Delp often locked himself away for periods of time after finishing tours with Boston.
Delp's suicide also surprised Danvers High classmate Roger Kimball, who had played in Delp's high school band, The Monks, along with Steve Frary, Steve Cohen and Bobby Hayes.
"It's just going to be another shock to everybody," Kimball said. "It doesn't seem to fit with his personality."
Lauri Cimino, a manager at Whippersnappers, where Delp's Beatles cover band Beatlejuice also often played, said everyone associated with the lounge was shocked to learn his death was a suicide.
"I would certainly say it surprised a lot of us," she said. "He was a great guy, and we enjoyed having him play here. He certainly drew in a huge crowd."
Delp's rock band Boston rose to fame in the late 1970s and had several hits, including "More Than a Feeling." The group sold millions of records.
More recently, Beatlejuice played gigs and fundraisers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The band was scheduled to play three times this year at the Bay Bridge Restaurant and Night Club in Salem. Just six weeks ago, Delp's latter-day band played a show in the auditorium of his alma mater to raise money for the Danvers High Falcons baseball team.
Bay Bridge manager John Colantoni said he called John "Muzz" Muzzy, Beatlejuice drummer and business manager, after he learned of Delp's death last week. He said he didn't know the cause of the death at the time and was shocked to hear it yesterday.
"People try to sugarcoat things to make it sound better when people do this," he said. "But in Brad's case, he was just the nicest man in rock ‘n' roll and never complained about anything."
Delp was also planning to take his old band Boston on a reunion tour this summer and was to marry Sullivan during a break in the tour.
Delp's agent, Troy Blakely, said yesterday he had not been in touch with the singer recently but believed Delp was looking forward to getting married and touring again.
"There was no indication of anything amiss," he said.
In his 34 years of representing artists, Blakely said he never met a kinder man than Delp.
"Brad Delp was one of the nicest, most wonderful individuals I ever worked with," he said.
By Meghan Carey