Although Cassidy aspired to have the musical chops and freedom of Mick Jagger (The Rolling Stones) and John Lennon and Paul McCartney (The Beatles), his long-running stint on The Partridge Family relegated him to performing “bubblegum” music. It was something he hated, but depended on after the TV series ended to continue to make a living.
Cassidy’s relationship with alcohol was long, intense, and troubled. After several high-profile arrests for public intoxication and drunk driving, Cassidy finally acknowledged his alcoholism in 2008.
However, Cassidy continued to drink heavily and was arrested several more times for drunk driving.
In February 2017, Cassidy gave a performance in which he couldn’t remember most of the lyrics to songs he’d been singing for years, and those he did remember he slurred. Physically, onstage he was unsteady on his feet and there were reports that he fell at least once.
A few days later Cassidy announced that he was retiring because he was suffering from dementia (his mother, actress Evelyn Ward, died from dementia), and he blamed the previous weekend’s performance on dementia, protesting – too much, it would seem – that he was not drunk.
Although Cassidy tried to paint a familial connection with dementia between himself and his mother – claiming an inherited form of dementia which can be confirmed only with genetic testing, which there is no evidence he underwent – in his retirement announcement, Cassidy clearly suffered the neurological damage incurred by many years of heavy alcohol abuse and had alcohol-related dementia.
On November 18, 2017, David Cassidy was hospitalized for liver failure (another result of long-term alcohol abuse). On November 21, 2017, David Cassidy died at the age of 67 as a result of multiple organ failure.