1985 – Rick Nelson dies in an airplane crash near DeKalb, Texas.While on that tour, on his way to a New Year’s Eve concert in Dallas, Texas, he died in a plane crash in De Kalb, Texas. Nelson was buried in the Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. The last song he sang on stage before his death was Buddy Holly’s “Rave On”.
Rumors that drug use among the passengers caused the crash frequently resurface, but the original NTSB investigation long ago stated that the crash was probably due to mechanical problems. An examination indicated the fire originated in the right hand side of the aft cabin area at or near the floor line. The ignition and fuel sources could not be determined, although many believe that the most likely cause was a defective cabin heater. The pilot indicated that the crew tried to turn on the cabin heater repeatedly shortly before the fire occurred, but that it failed to respond. After the fire, the access panel to the heater compartment was found unlatched. The theory is supported by records that showed that DC-3s in general, and this aircraft in particular, had a previous history of problems with the cabin heaters.