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Updated Oct 15, 2013, 8:50 pm Originally posted Oct 15, 2013, 11:29 am
Amy and Derrick Ross, the Bisbee husband and wife duo who performed as Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl, will wander musically no more. Amy died Monday just before (or possibly during, reports conflict) surgery, and Derrick committed suicide overnight.
Amy Ross, 40, suffered from lupus and kidney problems. She died at Tucson Medical Center, having been in the hospital for more than week.
Derrick Ross, 39, shot himself with a gun he bought after his wife's death, said comedian Doug Stanhope, the couple's landlord.
Amy's death was announced, in her own voice, on her personal Facebook page:
Hey kids! Bad news! I died this morning and Derrick didn't know how to tell you. I love you all and hope you go out and be nice to someone. Funerals are a bore so hopefully I don't have one. Give Derrick some alone space... He stinks at this stuff so leave him be for now. Thanks for all the kindness.. Please spread it around.
Stanhope told the audience at a comedy club in West Nyack, N.Y., on Tuesday night that he wrote the message from Amy after her husband gave him her Facebook password.
Derrick discussed his wife's medical problems in a podcast with Stanhope last week. He told listeners that Amy had been on dialysis for six years because of lupus, and that a blood infection had weakened two heart valves to the point where she required surgery.
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"I'm pretty freaked out," Derrick said during the recording, mentioning the possibility of suicide if she died.
During the podcast, Stanhope encouraged his fans to donate to the couple to help pay Amy's medical bills.
"Whiskey died this morning before surgery. Today stinks real real bad," Stanhope tweeted Monday evening. Tuesday morning, he tweeted, "Nowhere Man killed himself last night. Two of our favorite people in the world in 24 hours. Stunned."
News of Derrick's suicide, confirmed by Bisbee police, was posted on Amy's page Tuesday morning, apparently timed to appear publicly after his death:
Sorry to bring more bad news but Derrick decided to join me at some point in the night last night. I thought it best you heard it from me. Enjoy every sandwich. We love and will miss you all. Go be nice to someone for us.
Stanhope, holding back tears at times, told the crowd at his comedy show that he'd thought about canceling his performance, but decided to continue.
Derrick said during last week's podcast that he'd probably kill himself if his wife died, Stanhope told the audience, according to CliffviewPilot.com publisher Jerry Demarco, who watched the show.
Derrick "deliberately told Amy's parents that she was OK so they wouldn't come around," DeMarco said Stanhope said.
"Then he bought the gun on the way home from the hospital," DeMarco said the comedian said.
Stanhope didn't mention writing the post about Derrick's death, he said.
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The duo began performing their Western-tinged folk about a decade ago, using acoustic guitar, sometimes piano and always Amy's husky, honeyed voice.
They chose the moniker Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl to "hinted at their roots in the American West and established their identity as a determinedly two-person operation," the couple's website said.
"The name also cast them as a couple of wanderers, too intoxicated with the possibilities of someplace else to settle down. In that sense, the name would prove prophetic as it charted the course of the next five years of their lives," they wrote.
They released three CDs, "Children of Fortune," "Just Like The Others," and an eponymous collection of songs.
From their website:
Unable to locate a satisfactory permanent home, they accumulated more than their fair share of temporary addresses. When it wasnt the pony-trail towns of Bisbee, Tucson, and Willcox in the Arizona Territory, it was cooler locales like Corvallis and Nashville. Upon the release of their debut album, they hit the road for weeks at a time, bypassing the metropolitan centers in favor of the oft-neglected smaller towns in between.
Wherever they went, they brought a simple musical proposition: Her piano and voice, his acoustic guitar, a love of life's little details, and a sense of humor. Although they traversed a landscape of bleached-husk desolation, they arrived none the worse for wear. Their longing for home unfulfilled, they found something of greater value along the way. They found a legion of like-minded hopeful searchers who believed in what they had to say and how they said it...
Friends of the couple will reportedly hold a gathering at the Bisbee Grand Hotel on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m.
Tucson fans and friends will remember Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl at Delectables On Fourth, 533 N. 4th Ave., 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday.