Johnny Solinger, former Skid Row singer, dies at 55 after liver failure diagnosis

Johnny Solinger, seen here performing at Pentaport Rock Festival in South Korea on Aug, 2, 2013, has died at 55. (Photo: Chung Sung-Jun, Getty Images)

Former Skid Row singer Johnny Solinger has died a month after revealing he was suffering from liver failure. He was 55.

Solinger’s wife, actress Paula Marcenaro Solinger, confirmed the musician’s death. “He passed yesterday while I was holding his hand,” she told USA TODAY on Sunday morning.

“He went in peace,” Marcenaro wrote Saturday night on Facebook, two hours after telling fans, “I have made the decision to transition to comfort care. It is time to let him go … I wish I could have done more. I wish I could have saved him. I’m so sorry, Johnny Solinger. I’m so sorry.”

Skid Row shared the news Saturday night on social media, posting a photo of Solinger with his birth and death dates.

“We are saddened to hear the news of our brother Johnny Solinger. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and fans,” a statement on Skid Row’s verified Instagram account read. “Godspeed Singo. Say hello to Scrappy for us.”

The statement was signed “much love” from current members Rachel Bolan, ZP Theart, Snake Sabo, Rob Hammersmith and Scotti Hill.

Solinger was the hard rock band’s longest-running vocalist (1999 to 2015), replacing Sebastian Bach, who left the group in 1996. Solinger fronted the group when it opened for Kiss’ Farewell Tour in 2000 and embarked on a solo career after parting ways with the group. He sang on two of the group’s albums, 2003’s “Thickskin” and 2006’s “Revolutions Per Minute.”

Solinger shared his health struggles with fans last month on Facebook.

“It is with a heavy heart I must let everyone know what’s going on with me and my health,” he wrote on May 8. “I have been hospitalized for over the last month. I have been diagnosed with liver failure. And prognosis is not so good. As with most musicians I do not have health insurance and it’s very difficult to get proper care without it.

“I am currently under at least seven different medications and I need to have my abdomen drained off fluid that gets accumulated every couple of days,” he wrote. “I have lost a lot of strength and will require physical therapy as well.”

Solinger asked fans to “send me all the healing vibes you can” and donations to help with his medical bills. A GoFundMe page organized by his friend Brian Lawrence has raised $16,000 toward a $100,000 goal.

Bassist Tony Franklin (Whitesnake, Jimmy Page) remembered Solinger as “a sweet guy, a bundle of laughs, and some vocal pipes. Rest peacefully Johnny!”

So sad to hear of the passing of former Skid Row vocalist Johnny Solinger. A sweet guy, a bundle of laughs, and some vocal pipes. Rest peacefully Johnny! 🙏🏻😥💙

“He was a big, bold flash of life. He will be dearly missed,” bassist Todd Kerns (Slash, The Age of Electric) wrote. “Keep the mic warm for me when I get up there so we can rock together once more.”

“Get yourself a piece of pie with Scrappy,” wrote Bolan, Skid Row’s bassist, on his own Instagram account.

Scrappy was Solinger’s late grandfather, World War II veteran Willard J. “Scrappy” Smith, who died in 2019 at age 103 in Russellville, Arkansas. Solinger’s company, Scrappy Smith LLC, was named for him, and Solinger released a solo EP of the same name in 2014.

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