Posted in: Music

George Donaldson Dies: Celtic Thunder Singer Suffers Massive Heart Attack At 46

George Donaldson on tour

George Donaldson had been the face of the band Celtic Thunder since he joined in 2007, but now the 46-year-old has died after suffering a massive heart attack.

Donaldson died Wednesday at his home in Glasgow, Scotland. The self-taught musician joined the group Celtic Thunder six years ago after auditioning for producer Sharon Browne, and served as the principal singer since then.

Donaldson was remembered as an accomplished flute and guitar player whose love of Celtic music came from his late father Bernard. The late George Donaldson said one of the greatest achievements of his life was playing for his father at the Celtics opening match of the 2000 season at Celtic Park in Glasgow.

George Donaldson celtic thunder

Though his influences came from Scotland, Donaldson also appreciated finding new styles and sources of inspiration.

His personal website noted before his death:

“George has a great love and fondness for meeting ‘real people’ from all over the world, finding out about their stories and their lives. He believes there is a ‘song’ in everyone. On his many musical journeys through Europe he discovered a great fondness for Germany, the culture and it’s people. Spending numerous nights in post-show discussions with the locals, he has become an eternal ‘struggling’ student with the language. It was through these late night sessions that the seeds of ‘the White Rose’ were sown.”

George Donaldson 1

George Donaldson died after taking Celtic Thunder to international fame, with sold-out shows across Europe and North America including St. Patrick’s Day parades in Boston, Chicago, and New York City. The group also played for President Obama and the First Lady at the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the White House.

His work was not limited to Celtic Thunder. Donaldson also had a successful solo career, winning Irish Music Awards in 2011 and 2012.

When news that George Donaldson died reached the internet, fans brought an outpouring of support and condolences to his family, which included wife Carolyn and a 13-year-old daughter, Sarah.

George Donaldson 5

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Comments

97 Responses to “George Donaldson Dies: Celtic Thunder Singer Suffers Massive Heart Attack At 46”

  1. Mike Crognale

    OH NO!!!! He was one of the great voices. He leaves a HUGE hole in the music world. May he rest in peace.

  2. Roger Buckingham

    Very Sad day!! Rest in Peace George, you were the greatest! Thoughts go out to your family and the best group ever Celtic Thunder!

  3. Roger Buckingham

    Very Sad day!! Rest in Peace George, you were the greatest! Thoughts go out to your family and the best group ever Celtic Thunder!

  4. Suzanne Jones

    So sad! Loved him. He'll be missed. Glad I had the opportunity to see him in concert.

  5. Carol Barnes

    Such sad news on the passing of George Donaldson of Celtic Thunder! His voice will be greatly missed. My thoughts go out to his family and his Celtic Thunder family. May he rest in peace.

  6. Susan Schult

    My husband and I are new to the Celtic Thunder group. One concert on PBS and we were sold love the music and the sole of the group. We will be praying for the family of George he will be missed greatly. This has to be a very sad day for all, love everyone in the group but George was my very favorite. This is still very had to believe.

  7. Taryn Stuart

    Such a Great voice, such a Great Loss to us all. My thoughts are with his family and fellow Celtic Thunder performers.

  8. Rebecca Phoenixwolf

    George we will miss you very very very much REST IN PEACE AND WE LOVE YOU VERY MUCH,You were the greatest thoughts go to your family and friends and your fellow band members

  9. Marvin Nichols

    Broken hearts here, joyful hearts in heaven. God's choir has a new leader. Will sing with you later.

  10. Jennifer Addington

    OMG say it isn't so! I'm so so sad right now :'( RIP Dear George, You will be truly missed!! Prayers of comfort and healing to his Family!

  11. Jennifer Addington

    OMG say it isn't so! I'm so so sad right now :'( RIP Dear George, You will be truly missed!! Prayers of comfort and healing to his Family!

  12. Corinne Tobin

    Our thoughts and prayers for the family. He will be missed and well remembered.

  13. Gayle Vogelsang

    Such a tragic loss not only for his family & friends, but for all music lovers everywhere. George was a gentle sole & such a wonderful man. Sending prayers for comfort to his wife, Carrie & daughter, Sarah. We will all miss him greatly, but not as much as the two of you will. Just know that the Celtic Thunder family & all the fans will be there for you if you need us. RIP George.

  14. Marcie Hatfield

    This is very sad. Condolences to his family and Celtic Thunder. Rest in peace, George!

  15. Marcie Hatfield

    This is very sad. Condolences to his family and Celtic Thunder. Rest in peace, George!

  16. Sheila D. O'Connor

    Truly a sad day for Celtic Thunder fans. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and his band mates. He had the voice of an angel and now he will be singing with them. Rest in peace George.

  17. Judy Sommerich

    Very sorry to hear this news. My deepest condolences to his wife and daughter, and to all of his friends and Celtic Thunder colleagues. Celtic Thunder may 'replace' your position but they will never replace you. Very sad news indeed.

  18. Betty Thornton Beeman

    George was a wonderful Singer and would light up any stage… I was impressed with the love he always expressed when speaking of his family and fans… He will be greatly missed… Sending prayers to his beautiful family…. May he rest in Peace .. Heaven has gained another member for the Choir…..

  19. Tim Grace

    Prayers for all his fans and family…may my memories last forever…

  20. Isabel Gonzalez

    wow,i cant believe it,he was amazing,the group wont be the same without hm,fare well

  21. William Thomas Rogers

    I'm totally stunned. Tell me it isn't so. I 'discovered' Celtic Thunder almost by accident while surfing PBS; the first concert at The Helix. I was blown away and we've sinced made it routine to see them when they come to the Tampa Bay area each year. I'm SO sorry to hear this terrible news. God Speed George Donaldson. My condolences to his family, his friends, and to the Celtic Thunder Members and Crew. Your loss is very much our loss.

  22. Joan Maricola

    to carrie and sarah i am so sorry its really upsetting my best buddy on celtic thunder george die we are sure going to miss him

  23. Bonnie Baughcum

    My heart is breaking. I love Celtic Thunder and George was my favorite. He will be missed. My condolences to his wife and daughter. Rest in peace, George. The angels have a wonderful new voice for their choir.

  24. Clay Thrasher

    Did I care about Celtic music until I heard him? No…but he brought me a new understanding of music and harmony. I had "The old man" played at my father's funereal…and I'll play it now for you….you brought light and life into the world even as your own faded. Thank you, brother.

  25. Catherine Buchanan Bradfield

    RIP George you will be missed sing with the angles now.

  26. Dick Palmatier

    George Donaldson of Celtic Thunder dies at 46… of a heart attack… just b/4 St. Patrick's Day? This is so NOT RIGHT. So sorry to rest of fans, band and family.

  27. Patricia Loney Hinojosa

    I just found out about Celtic Thunder this week. I fell in love with their music. God watch over his family and they are in my thoughts and prayers. He will be missed very deeply.

  28. Bill Harris

    So sad to learn of George Donaldson's passing, especially at such a young age. God bless him, his family, and his many admirers.

  29. Tina Ollier-Mestayer

    " All God's Creatures got a place in the choir" George, now you have your own. Celtic Thunder will never be the same. May you rest in Peace, and may your family and friends find comfort in the Lord. You will be missed.

  30. Mickey Hartshorn

    Oh this is so sad. I absolutely loved watching him, especially when he was teamed up with Damian. Such a sad sad day

  31. Rita M Root

    Such sad news; George brought joy to many with his music and his smile

  32. Shirley Bowman

    I'm so so sorry for your loss. We were blessed with his great talent for years but now I believe he's singing with the angels. My late husband died with a heart attack at age 46 too and we were blessed to have 4 days with him and heard him say "I hear music." I know he heard Heaven's music. We too had a teenager, a boy at age 14 so I can emphathize with your loss. My late husband was a Stars & Stripes reporter which had us living in Japan when we lost him. Please feel free to PM me any time or email me at shirleypix@live.com if you'd like to chat.

  33. Cindy Sullivan

    I am so sorry to hear that he had passed away, I loved to hear him sing, either solo or with the group. I am from Virginia and loved watching them on PBS. May God Bless his family and the group I know that he will be Greatly missed.

  34. Kathy Driskill

    I can't believe it ,,glad I have some of their DVD's

  35. Debbi Corley

    My condolences to his family and friends. George will be sorely missed, but we shall love hearing his voice among the angel choir in heaven after we leave this earth. May God Bless

  36. Debbi Corley

    My condolences to his family and friends. George will be sorely missed, but we shall love hearing his voice among the angel choir in heaven after we leave this earth. May God Bless

  37. Debbi Corley

    My condolences to his family and friends. George will be sorely missed, but we shall love hearing his voice among the angel choir in heaven after we leave this earth. May God Bless

  38. Anonymous

    This past Mothers Day my son took me to their concert. I sat in awe for the entire concert !!!! I fell in love with George the first time I heard him sing. The compassion & sensitivity in his voice brought me to tears many times. I pray God will carry Carolyn & Sarah through this . There will never be another George Donaldson. Rest in Peace Dear one.

  39. Mary Samonds Kane

    Mary Schmitt, my grandfather died of heart issues at the same young age. I never knew him, as I wasn't born until 6 months later.

  40. Valerie Lawton Fago

    God calls us home when it's his time. We never know when that time will come for us. Stay strong in God. I pray for family and friends who are dealing with the loss. When I first read this my thought was that God needed someone to add to the beautiful music made in heaven.

  41. Chas White

    What a talent! Had the pleasure of seeing Celtic Thunder perform a couple of years ago, in Jax, FL.
    May he rest in Heavenly peace. And, may his family, loved ones, and friends find peace as we all grieve for the loss of this gifted man. From a fan, and fellow musician.

  42. Chas White

    What a talent! Had the pleasure of seeing Celtic Thunder perform a couple of years ago, in Jax, FL.
    May he rest in Heavenly peace. And, may his family, loved ones, and friends find peace as we all grieve for the loss of this gifted man. From a fan, and fellow musician.

  43. Kathleen Carnivale

    R I P George.. You will be truly missed. I agree with many others that you will sing with the Heavenly Chior, My condolences to his family and many friends.

  44. Anjulia Joil

    $9­­­­­­­­­7­­­­­­­­­/­­­­­­­­­h­­­­­­­­­r­­­­­­­­­ ­­­­­­­­­p­­­­­­­­­av­­­­­­­­­iv­­­­­­­­­d­­­­­­­­­v­­­­­­­­­ b­­­­­­­­­y G­­­­­­­­­oog­­­­­­­­­le­­­­­­­­­, I­­­­­­­­­ am ­­­­­­­­­making ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­good ­­­­­­­­­salary ­­­­­­­­­from ­­­­­­­­­home ­­­­­­­­­$5500­­­­­­­­­-­­­­­­­­­$7000/week ­­­­­­­­­, ­­­­­­­­­which ­­­­­­­­­is ­­­­­­­­­amazing, ­­­­­­­­­under ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­year ­­­­­­­­­ago ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­was ­­­­­­­­­jobless ­­­­­­­­­in ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­horrible ­­­­­­­­­economy. ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­thank ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­God ­­­­­­­­­every ­­­­­­­­­day ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­was ­­­­­­­­­blessed ­­­­­­­­­with ­­­­­­­­­these ­­­­­­­­­instructions ­­­­­­­­­and ­­­­­­­­­now ­­­­­­­­­it's ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­my ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­duty ­­­­­­­­­to ­­­­­­­­­pay ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­forward ­­­­­­­­­and ­­­­­­­­­share ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­with ­­­­­­­­­Everyone, ­­­­­­­­­Here ­­­­­­­­­is ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­started,,,­­­­­­­­­,,,,, w­w­w.w­o­r­k­t­i­n.c­o­m

  45. Mike Edwards

    Very sad. Always post his song on Father's Day "The old man"
    He will be truly missed Rip

  46. Theresa Misenko

    We love watching them on KPBS…very sad to hear. Good reminder to make the most of every day.

  47. Janice Crombie Cross

    OMG – this is one of those can't believe it moments – what a lose – reminder that we need to live each day as best we can – I am really shaken!

  48. Sherri Ward Baldwin

    Celtic Thunder is amazing! So sorry to hear about George.

  49. Penny Dempsey Dietz

    Went to see the Celtic Tenors tonight and they mentioned George D. and sang a song in his memory. So sad for one so talented to die so young.

  50. Walter Bachner

    It was hard to edit this story through my tears. I adored George's music. Nathan wrote a tribute to this talented man and I spent most of my evening finding each image with loving care to add to his article. I hope we managed to give George Donaldson the send-off he deserved. Now he can sing to the angels.

  51. Trish Calebaugh

    I will miss his smiling face and beautiful voice. My husband and I saw him in November in Clearwater Fla.He was absolutely amazing along with the other Celtic Thunder performers.

  52. Elaine Fontana

    Never had the privilege of seeing CelticThunder on stage in person. The only time I got to see them was on PBS. And when their performance came on, had to stop what I was doing and sit in awe at the talent being exhibited. The group was fantastic, each with their own talent, but George Donaldson had the powerful, commanding voice that was just thrilling Such a loss to us, but more so to his family. May they find peace and acceptance, knowing that God for some reason wanted him to come home at this young age. My children are all older than him, and I could not imagine the shock of losing any of them.

  53. Lin Mautz Carter

    I will miss that voice and those kind, loving eyes that let one see the real George. Very sad. My condolences to your wife, daughter and family. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

  54. Chris Houser

    I was horrified when I saw the news…George and all of Celtic Thunder have felt like part of my family since discovering the group last year. My prayers are with his family and the Celtic Thunder Group.

  55. Marlene Phelan

    A very sad day to hear of Georges death. my friends and I have seen all concerts in Australia. we will remember you fondly, and your beautiful voice singing the old man it always brings a tear to my eye. R.I.P

  56. Lucie So

    I just learned of his death – so sorry – he will be missed. Celtic Thunder will not be the same without him. RIP Sir.

  57. Joann Smith

    Sarah Tucker so many thanks for corrected spelling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  58. Martin Martinez

    How sad. I've spent quite a bit of time listening to their music.

  59. Gloria Warner

    He was a great person who had a great gift for entertaining. He will be sorely missed. Condolences to his family, he was much too young to go. RIP George.