David Malachowski, guitarist and music director for Shania Twain, has died at the age of 67 | Start Classified

David Malachowski, a Schenectady native who started playing guitar at the age of 8 and has progressed from regional bands to music director for country superstar Shania Twain in the mid-1990s and touring worldwide musician in pit bands for Broadway musicals such as “Rent” and “Mamma Mia,” died Thursday.

He was 67 years old. The news was announced on Instagram by his daughter Lindsay, who wrote that she held his hand as he died. Lindsay Malachowski said Friday he died of heart failure related to cancer treatment he underwent as a teenager. He died at the hospice in New York City where he had moved in 2013.

Known for his long, flowing hair and slim jeans, and for collecting speeding tickets in his beloved Corvettes, Malachowski looked and lived like a guitar hero, although he was personally known as a warm and humble friend. He liked to sum up his life by saying it was a mixture of sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll combined with country, blues and Broadway, all united by the guitar. Malachowski also prided himself on the sobriety he had maintained since he was about 30 years old.

“He was a rock star, but he was so much more than that. He knew an incredible amount about all kinds of music – more than a lot of people gave him credit for,” said Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, artistic director of Capital Repertory Theater in Albany. Malachowski has served as music director on multiple productions of The Rep’s Always… Patsy Cline and Hank Williams: Lost Highway.

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