The singer-songwriter rose to fame in LA-based folk-rock group The Byrds, who he joined in 1964 alongside Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke.
He collaborated on chart-topping hits including a cover of Bob Dylan’s Mr Tambourine Man which leapt to number one in the US singles chart and Turn! Turn! Turn!.
Shortly after leaving the band in 1967 following a tumultuous tenure, he joined supergroup Crosby, Stills and Nash – with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash, which later added Neil Young.
During his time in the band he wrote Guinnevere, Almost Cut My Hair, Long Time Gone, Delta and Deja Vu – however constant clashing led the band to topple in the 1970s.
Over the years, the band sporadically re-grouped, including when Crosby and Nash recorded and toured regularly.
In a statement to US outlet Variety, his wife Jan Dance wrote: “It is with great sadness after a long illness, that our beloved David (Croz) Crosby has passed away. He was lovingly surrounded by his wife and soulmate Jan and son Django.
“Although he is no longer here with us, his humanity and kind soul will continue to guide and inspire us. His legacy will continue to live on through his legendary music.
“Peace, love, and harmony to all who knew David and those he touched. We will miss him dearly. At this time, we respectfully and kindly ask for privacy as we grieve and try to deal with our profound loss. Thank you for the love and prayers.”
Beach Boys singer Brian Wilson was one of the first to pen a tribute to Crosby, writing that he is “at a loss for words” following the news.
He tweeted: “I don’t know what to say other than I’m heartbroken to hear about David Crosby. David was an unbelievable talent – such a great singer and songwriter. And a wonderful person.”
Born in 1941, Crosby was the child of Oscar-winning cinematographer Floyd Crosby, and gravitated to acting and music at an early age.
Crosby was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice for his role in both bands.
Crosby joined forces with Becca Stevens, Michelle Willis and Michael League – known as The Lighthouse Band – in 2016 before their 2018 tour in support of Crosby’s seventh solo album Here If You Listen.
Sharing a picture of Crosby’s engraved guitar case on Instagram, The Hollies band member Nash wrote: “It is with a deep and profound sadness that I learned that my friend David Crosby has passed.
“I know people tend to focus on how volatile our relationship has been at times, but what has always mattered to David and me more than anything was the pure joy of the music we created together, the sound we discovered with one another, and the deep friendship we shared over all these many long years. David was fearless in life and in music.
“He leaves behind a tremendous void as far as sheer personality and talent in this world. He spoke his mind, his heart, and his passion through his beautiful music and leaves an incredible legacy. These are the things that matter most.”