Spears’ wife Jessica announced the news on his Instagram account, but did not reveal the cause of his death.
Spears was born and raised in Washington, DC, where he developed his passion and talent for drumming at a young age through his church attendance. He joined the DC-based Gideon Band and later caught the attention of Valdez Brantley, the musical director for Usher. Spears was nominated for a Grammy in 2004 for his work on Usher’s record-breaking album ‘Confessions’.
Spears also toured with Lil Wayne, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks, Chaka Khan, Adam Lambert, Mary Mary, The Backstreet Boys, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears. He was most recently the drummer for Grande since 2013.
Grande has since paid tribute to Spears on her Instagram story, writing: “We were all so incredibly lucky to know Aaron. The absolute brightest light of a human being. Always the kindest, always smiling, I am so honored and thankful that our paths crossed.”
She also thanked the drummer “for your utter brilliance, for our laughs, and for your kindness always,” concluding, “I will miss your hugs.”
Blink-182’s Travis Barker wrote on Spears’ post, “I have no words. I love you so much my brother and will miss you. This doesn’t seem real. Praying for you Jessica and August.”
View more tributes from across the music industry below.
We say goodbye to a true drumming legend, @AaronSpears.
Your talent, smile, and personality will be dearly missed, but your legacy lives on. 🙏
— Drumeo (@drumeo) October 30, 2023
An immense and untimely loss for the drumming and music community.
Rest in power Aaron Spears 😔 pic.twitter.com/ebFJNiiTbF
— Ferit Odman (@feritodman) October 30, 2023