Ariana Grande has remembered her former drummer Aaron Spears as the “brightest light of a human being” as she paid tribute to him following his death.
The Grammy-nominated producer and drummer toured and worked on music with a host of global stars including Usher, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and Chaka Khan.
His wife Jessica announced his death on social media on Monday, describing him as having an “unparalleled talent and passion for music” and being a “devoted father”.
“It is with a heavy heart and overwhelming sadness that I share the news of the passing of my beloved husband, Aaron Spears”, she wrote in a statement shared to Instagram.
“Aaron was not only an incredibly accomplished drummer, admired by many for his unparalleled talent and passion for music, but he was also a devoted father to our precious son, August.”
She continued: “His love, guidance, and warmth were the pillars of our family, and his absence leaves a void that words cannot describe.
“We are blessed to have him in our lives, his legacy will live on through the beautiful rhythms he created and the love he shared with us.
“We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
“Please remember Aaron for the incredible person he was and the amazing music he brought into our world. At this time we ask for privacy as we work our way through this. With Love Jessica and August.”
Friends and famous faces were among those to send their condolences, with Grande praising him for his “kindness”.
Alongside a photo of Spears drumming, which she shared to her Instagram story, the pop star wrote: “I can’t wrap my head around this.
“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 and to have spent so much very special time together.
“Thank you for your utter brilliance, for our laughs, and for your kindness always. I will miss your hugs. You are so loved and will be so very missed.”
The singer also reshared a post of Spears from December 2019 in which he thanked Grande for having him on her tour.
Alongside a selection of photos of the tour, the drummer wrote: “I’m so thankful to @arianagrande for being the courageous beautiful unwavering light that has helped bring so much joy and healing to every person who attended every single show.”
Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker also sent a message of support to Spears’ family, writing: “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.”
Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron recalled meeting Spears at the 2013 Inauguration Ball for former US president Barack Obama, describing him as “classy, kind and (had) a smile that lit up the room”.
He added: “He was loved by so many of us fellow musicians and music fans the world over.”
Spears was nominated for a Grammy Award for his work as a music producer on Usher’s hit 2004 album Confessions.