Gail Zappa, Frank Zappa’s widow and head of the Zappa Family Trust, died at home on Wednesday, 7 October, according to a statement released by her family. She was 70 years old.
“Gail will forever be identified as a key figure in the creative renaissance that is Laurel Canyon,” read the family’s statement, posted on Facebook. “The memories she leaves behind are indeed her own art form. Her searing intelligence, unforgettable smile, wild thicket of hair and trailing black velvets leave a blur in her wake.”
Gail was responsible for releasing more than 30 of her prolific husband’s albums after his death in 1993. As head of the Zappa Family Trust, Gail protected her husband’s musical legacy and sought to ensure none of his material was used or released without her prior authorisation.
“I’m just defending the audience’s right to hear Frank’s music the way he intended it,” she has said, in a 2010 Guardian interview. “It’s not just for Frank that I do this, it’s also for the potential audience out there.”
Gail and Frank’s son Ahmet is due to take over the family trust, according to an announcement made in July.
Gail was born Adelaide Gail Sloatman in January 1945, and lived in London and New York before hitchhiking to Los Angeles, according to a Rolling Stones report. She met Frank when she was working as a secretary at LA nightclub Whisky A Go Go. The pair married when she was 22 years old, and pregnant with son Dweezil.
She is survived by Dweezil, Ahmet and her two daughters Moon Unit and Diva.