In 1997, a year after the release of New Adventures in Hi-Fi, R.E.M. founding member Bill Berry, their drummer, chose to leave the band to live a quiet life on his farm. His departure followed a scare a couple of years earlier in which he collapsed onstage with a brain aneurysm. No doubt that sort of thing causes you to reevaluate your life in short order.
Beyond playing the drums and a host of other instruments, Berry was an active songwriter for R.E.M. (the full band is credited with writing all of their songs, though Berry’s name has specifically been attached to such classics as ‘Man On the Moon,’ ‘Driver 8’ and ‘Can’t Get There From Here’).
And his musical contributions aside, I don’t think it can be overemphasized how much the absence of a family member means to the family he leaves behind.