Gail Zappa, the wife and business partner of musician Frank Zappa, died Wednesday at her home at age 70.
A cause of death has been released.
Born Adelaide Gail Sloatman, she met Frank Zappa in the ’60s when, according to his autobiography The Real Frank Zappa Book, she was working as a secretary at the West Hollywood, California nightclub Whisky A Go-Go. They got married in 1967, when Gail was 22 years old and 9 months pregnant, in what Frank described as a “severely ridiculous civil ceremony” in the book. The couple became staples in the late ’60s and ’70s counterculture movement in Laurel Canyon, then a quaint, secluded Los Angeles neighborhood that Jim Morrison, Joni Mitchell, and other musicians also flocked to.
“Gail, self-described as a pagan absurdist, was motivated by love in all aspects of her life, kept her authenticity intact, unbowed and, simply put, was one bad ass in the music business and political world,” read a statement from the Zappa Family Trust. “She defined herself in her personal relationships, happiest when surrounded by loved ones and artists, often one in the same. The memories she leaves behind are indeed her own art form. Her searing intelligence, unforgettable smile, wild thicket of hair and trailing black velvets leave a blur in her wake.”
In his autobiography, Frank Zappa called Gail his “best friend.”
“If you can’t be friendly with your spouse, it’s not going to be much fun to live together,” he wrote. “I think that a marriage without friendship has to be pretty dreadful.”
Gail took the reins on the family trust after Frank died of prostate cancer in 1993, ushering the posthumous release of dozens of Frank’s albums. She is survived by their four children: Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet, and Diva.