Rob Laakso, Kurt Vile & The Violators guitarist, dies at 44

Rob Laakso performs onstage with Kurt Vile & the Violators at O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire in London on November 6, 2018
(Image credit: Burak Cingi/Redferns)

Rob Laakso, a veteran guitarist best known as a member of Kurt Vile & the Violators, has died at the age of 44.

Laakso's death was confirmed last Friday (May 5) on a GoFundMe page that had been set up to assist him and his family with medical costs. The guitarist had been battling cholangiocarcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of bile duct cancer.

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.