The Tragic Death Of Creedence Clearwater Revival's Tom Fogerty

Former Creedence Clearwater Revival guitarist Tom Fogerty's tragic death in 1990 was officially caused by tuberculosis, according to The New York Times, but the respiratory failure caused by the disease was yet another unfortunate event in the musician's life. Later, it would be reported that Fogerty's tuberculosis was a complication from the AIDS virus, which he acquired from a tainted blood transfusion during a back surgery in the 1980s, per Ultimate Classic Rock.

Tom Fogerty and his brother John Fogerty were in bands with Stu Cook and Doug Clifford through most of the 1960s. The group tried out different band names — "The Blue Velvets" and "The Golliwogs" among them. During those years Tom, the older brother, was the frontman, per Ultimate Classic Rock.

By the time the band changed their name for the last time to Creedence Clearwater Revival, they had found major success from 1968 to 1970. NPR called their sudden popularity "torrid, almost paranormal, in hindsight," a meteoric rise during those years with four top-five singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and three top-10 albums on the Billboard 200. Even as they achieved popular success, the dynamic in the band had shifted, and it was John on lead vocals fronting the band.

Egos clashed, and Tom left the band in 1971 at the height of its popularity. The band broke up entirely at the end of 1972.

The brotherly feud ended in forgiveness after Tom Fogerty died

In the subsequent decades after CCR disbanded, the siblings and other band members were embroiled in lawsuits and disagreements, but by the time Tom died at the age of 48, John said he and Tom had tried to make amends (via loudersound), especially after his brother had contracted a relatively new virus in the 1980s.

Early in that decade, the human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome — aka HIV and AIDS — had made its way to the United States. During the early days of that pandemic, "blood became a vector for HIV infection and transmitted a fatal illness to approximately half of the 16,000 hemophiliacs in the United States and to over 12,000 blood transfusion recipients," according to HIV And The Blood Supply: An Analysis Of Crisis Decisionmaking. Tom Fogerty was among those blood transfusion recipients during a time when there was little to no treatment for HIV or AIDS.

John said he visited Tom a few times toward the end of his brother's life. According to Loudersound, John said, "I was sad that life had been taken from Tom. That sadness was mixed with other emotions. But I've forgiven Tom. I'm not angry any more.

"I love my brother. I sure loved the old family days, the way we were as kids. It's resolved, and somehow Tom knows it's all right, wherever he is."

Tom Fogerty admired his brother's talent, but John believed he was jealous

If John Fogerty's sadness about his brother Tom's death was mixed with other emotions, Tom had mixed emotions about John as well. In a 1986 interview with Music Vault (posted on YouTube), Tom said he was really impressed by his brother's talent as a musician.

"I think that he had one of the most unique voices," Tom said. "Like, I used to tell him and I guess it's okay for me to say it. I was the first one that heard it. So I used to have to reinforce him and say, I think it's right up there with Ray Charles and Van Morrison, you know, it's a voice that's distinct and everybody already really liked that voice. And I had no idea that he would go on to write such great songs too, though. So I think he's great." All that said, Tom told the interviewer he never even listened to his brother's 1985 critically acclaimed comeback album, Centerfield, an album that made it to number one on the album charts, according to Sun-Sentinel, because it was too painful.

John has continued to record and perform

Tom said, "the last album was really painful for me because it sounded — "The Old Man Down the Road" — sounded so much like Creedence that it was hard for me to get past that. So ultimately, I never bought the album and never heard it."

From John's point of view, Tom was always jealous of his talent — and so were CCR bandmates Cook and Clifford.

In 2000 John told The Guardian, "I have very confused feelings for my brother because there was a time when things were happy. The best I can say in Tom's case is he was the older brother and the younger brother had a lot more talent, therefore he was jealous even to a greater degree than the other two in Creedence Clearwater Revival." One of those two, Stu Cook, was also quoted by The Guardian, saying, "It's the saddest story in rock and one of the longest ongoing stupid feuds."