Jerome John "Jerry" Garcia was an American musician who was best known for his lead guitar work, singing and songwriting with the band the Grateful Dead, which came to prominence during the counterculture era. Though he disavowed the role, Garcia was viewed by many as the leader or "spokesman" of the group.
One of its founders, Garcia performed with the Grateful Dead for their entire thirty-year career. Garcia also founded and participated in a variety of side projects, including the Saunders-Garcia Band, the Jerry Garcia Band, Old and in the Way, the Garcia/Grisman acoustic duo, Legion of Mary, and the New Riders of the Purple Sage. He also released several solo albums, and contributed to a number of albums by other artists over the years as a session musician. He was well known by many for his distinctive guitar playing and was ranked 13th in Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" cover story.
Later in life, Garcia was sometimes ill because of his diabetes, and in 1986 went into a diabetic coma that nearly cost him his life.