The Sad Passing of Joe Walsh’s Daughter, Emma
During the early 1970s, Joe Walsh, an Eagles member, experienced a period of great happiness. He wed Stefany Rhodes, a student at Boston University at the time, and they had their first child, Emma Kristen, in 1971. That same year, the family uprooted to Boulder, Colorado. Walsh was composing new songs for his upcoming album, “Barnstorm,” which would be released by his new band of the same name. Meanwhile, mom and kid would take a short stroll to the playground daily, making the most of the warm weather by playing on the swings together. In 2010, Rhodes described Emma’s personality to the Daily Camera, saying, “She was warm and humorous.”
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But soon, the family was devastated by a terrible loss.
According to Ultimate Classic Rock, in April 1974, while taking their daughter Emma to a playdate, Walsh’s wife Stefany Rhodes was killed in a car accident in their hometown of Boulder, Colorado. Reportedly, the other car ran a stop sign and crashed into the passenger side of the Walshes’ green Porsche.
A Terrible Setback
Emma suffered severe head injuries when the car lost control and crashed into a barrier on the other side of the street. Later that day, a few weeks before the toddler’s third birthday, her life support was turned off.
Her death exacerbated family tensions, and Rhodes and Walsh ended their marriage shortly after. Rhodes said, “The accident kind of did us in.” The marriage ended in divorce not long after that. The guitarist for the Eagles released a solo album in 1974 called “So What,” which included the song “Song for Emma.”
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Walsh told Rolling Stone in 2016 that he wrote the song for her “to aid with closure.” “And over the process of the next year, my wife and I, we just weren’t strong enough to get through the grief, and so we separated and eventually got divorced. But I met a girl in Los Angeles, and my song ‘Help Me Through the Night’ was to her about being there for me. Because I was a wreck. But she was there so that I could grieve Emma.”
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