Buddy Holly – Bio, Wife, Children, How Did He Die, Who Died With Him?

Buddy Holly is a name that cannot be forgotten in the rock and roll music industry. He was a rising star whose life and that of other artists who accompanied him was cut short in a plane crash. Curious about this late artist? then read more to find out about Buddy’s life, his wife, the cause of his death and who died with him.

Buddy Holly’s Bio

Buddy Holly was an American singer and songwriter who was born on September 7, 1936, in Lubbock, Texas as Charles Hardin Holley. He was the youngest child of his parents and his nickname “Buddy” was given to him by his mother. Buddy Holly learned how to play the piano at an early age and his older brother taught him the basics of the guitar. At the age of 16, Buddy was already a well-seasoned performer and had hits such as Peggy Sue and That’ll Be The Day.

His parents were both traders and they were very supportive of the career path that Buddy chose to pursue. He was well versed and his first recording session was produced by Owen Bradley on January 26, 1956, while his breakthrough hit song titled That’ll Be The Day was recorded with the Crickets in 1957. He was a fast-rising star in the rock and roll world but his dreams were cut short by his death which was memorialized in Don McLean’s song American Pie as “the day the music died”.

Buddy Holly
Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly,  and The Big Bopper (J.P Richardson)

Wife and Children

Buddy Holly was married to Marie Elena who worked as a receptionist for a music publisher called “Peer Music” and that was where he met her for the first time in August 1957 as he and his band “Cricket” visited Peer Southern Music. Buddy Holly asked Marie out on a date and five hours into their date, Buddy proposed to Marie but she gave her consent only after her aunt gave her approval.

Two months later, on August 15, 1958, Buddy and Marie got married in Lubbock, Texas which was Buddy’s hometown. The couple settled in Lubbock for a while and later moved to New York when he split with his band.

However, their marriage lasted only six months when he died and at the time of death, his wife, Marie was pregnant. And unfortunately, his wife lost the baby due to the psychological trauma she suffered upon his death.

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Marie was not able to attend his burial as she blamed herself for Buddy’s death and sources also said that she has also not been anywhere close to where he was buried and has not visited his grave. In an interview, she said she blames herself because she was not feeling well that period Buddy was going on tour and so was not able to follow him. She said if she had been with him on the tour, he would not have boarded the aircraft that took his life and that of the other artist. However, she later remarried and also got divorced but had three children in the marriage. Presently, she is a grandmother and is living in Texas.


Since the death of Buddy Holly, Marie has been doing her best to protect his legacy. She owns the right to his name, image, trademarks, and properties.

In 2010, Marie started a foundation with Peter Bradley in the name of Buddy and dubbed it “The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation”. The foundation is aimed at providing musical education to new upcoming musicians not minding their income, ethnicity or educational limitations. The education provided is in songwriting, production, orchestration, and performance education. It was a way of keeping Buddy Holly’s legacy alive.

How Did Buddy Holly Die, Who Died With Him?

February 31959, remains an unforgettable day rock and roll music and for it’s fans all over the world. It is to this day, referred to as “The Day the Music Died”. It was the day a plane crash claimed the life of three artists and a pilot. The lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P “The Big Bopper” Richardson, and Roger Peterson (the pilot) were cut short.

Buddy Holly
The crash site with the plane wreckage

Buddy had planned a tour called The Winter Dance Tour, which made him create a band together with Waylon Jennings, Tommy Allsup, Carl Bunch and Frankie Sardo as a supporting vocalist. Other artists who had interest in the tour later joined as supporting artists and among them were the famous Ritchie Valens who was known for his song La Bamba, J.P Richardson and Dion DiMucci and his band called “The Belmonts”.

Organizing the tour wasn’t easy because they had to visit different cities and the tour manager was not efficient in his duties which meant transportation logistics was done haphazardly. Also, the tour bus made some artists come down with flu because of its poor condition. This prompted Buddy to seek alternative means of transportation and they ended up chartering a 1947 single-engine v-tailed Beecraft 35 Bonanza from The Dwyer flying service to Fargo, North Dakota.

The plane could only airlift three passengers plus the pilot and so they decided to toss a coin to determine which two artists would join Buddy on the flight. Tommy Allsup lost the coin toss to Ritchie Valens while Waylon Jennings willingly gave J.P Richardson his seat because he had a cold and so Ritchie and Richardson joined Buddy on the ill-fated plane.

Upon takeoff, the pilot was unable to control the aircraft due to the weather and so the plane crashed and after waiting for them to no avail, search parties were sent and the plane wreckage was found – six miles Northwest of the airport – with the mangled bodies of the artists and pilot – all dead.

Since 1979, a concert is usually held annually at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake – the venue of his last performance and place where they took off from – in honor and memory of the departed artists.


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