Starship Guitarist's Death Shocks Everyone

A sold-out crowd rocked to the music of Starship, Survivor and Boston on Sunday night in Norfolk and then was rocked by news that one of the band members later had died of a heart attack.

Mark Abrahamian, the lead guitarist for the rock band Starship, died after the band’s portion of the outdoor concert at Divots had concluded.

Shawn Severson, general manager of Norfolk Lodge & Suites and concert organizer, said, “On behalf of the venue, our staff, and all the fans who came to see the show, we express our sincere and heart felt condolences to the Starship family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.”

Scott Harrison, the band’s road manager, said the 46-year-old Abrahamian collapsed soon after the band quit playing.

"We had just finished the show. We were back in the dressing room eating. He apparently told the bass player he wasn't feeling well," Harrison said.

Abrahamian went into the next room and was talking to his fiancée on the phone when he collapsed, Harrison said. He was taken to Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk, where he was pronounced dead.

"It's a shock to everyone," Harrison said in a phone interview from the airport in Omaha, where he was waiting for Abrahamian's fiancée. They planned to get married in December in Hawaii, Harrison said.

Harrison said Abrahamian hadn't mentioned any health problems to him, but he apparently had been telling his fiancée. "He had been having chest pains for a while," Harrison said.

Abrahamian joined Starship 11 years ago. Starship's history goes back to the 1960s with Jefferson Airplane and in the 1980s Jefferson Starship.

Abrahamian lived in Austin, Texas. Funeral services were pending.

Starship band members shared their thoughts via a Facebook post: “We are all shocked and saddened at the sudden loss of our guitar player Mark Abrahamian. Mark was a kind, thoughtful and innovative soul. He was also a friend and family member. Mark also happened to be one hell of a guitar player. We are devastated by the loss of our brother and just dealing with it the best we can.”

Severson said the concert attracted about 6,000 people despite temperatures in the mid-90s. The bands began about 6:30 p.m. and Boston finished its set about 10:30 p.m.

With the large crowd, it created a long line of people waiting to enter the concert area — a situation that Severson said will be addressed at future concerts.

Although, overall, the concert was a big success and appreciated by those in attendance, Abrahamian’s death casts a long shadow, Severson said.

“It’s just hard to deal with,” he said.

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