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Guitarist for Kansas City rock band dies after battle with West Nile virus

Van McLain, guitarist for Kansas City rock band Shooting Star, died last week after a long battle with West Nile virus. He was 62.
Van McLain, guitarist for Kansas City rock band Shooting Star, died last week after a long battle with West Nile virus. He was 62.

Van McLain, guitarist for Shooting Star, a Kansas City rock band that rose to prominence in the 1980s, died last week. He was 62.

News of McLain's passing was posted on the band's Facebook page. Services were held for McLain in Overland Park on Saturday afternoon.

"It is with a very broken heart that I announce the passing of one of my all-time favorite people Van McLain," read a message from band spokesman Randy Raley. "I love him like a brother and I will miss him desperately. Van has been sick a long time, and I'm glad he's finally free."

McLain, who was born Van Allen McElvain, died of complications from West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne illness that he had battled in recent years. Online fundraisers described McLain's need for nursing and therapy.

McLain, a graduate of Shawnee Mission South High School, founded Shooting Star with fellow classmate Ron Verlin in the 1970s.

Shooting Star was most active in the 1980s, with songs "Touch Me Tonight" and "Hollywood" receiving air time on rock radio stations.

The band was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in 2009.

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