On January 5, 1998, Bono died of injuries after striking a tree while skiing on the Nevada side of the Heavenly Ski Resort near South Lake Tahoe, California.
Bono’s death came just days after Michael Kennedy, a son of Robert F. Kennedy, died in a similar skiing accident in Aspen, Colorado. Bono’s widow, Mary, was elected to fill the remainder of the Congressional term. Over 10 years after his death, she continues to champion many of Sonny’s causes, including the ongoing fight to save the Salton Sea.
After Sonny’s death, Mary told an interviewer from TV Guide that Sonny was addicted to and seriously abusing prescription drugs, mainly Vicodin and Valium. Even though Mary claimed that Sonny’s drug use caused the accident, the autopsy showed no narcotics and only a very small amount of Valium, not enough to cause impairment according to the Washoe County Coroner’s report.
After being asked by Mary Bono, Sonny’s ex-wife, Cher, gave a eulogy at Bono’s funeral. His final resting place is Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California. The epitaph on Bono’s headstone reads: “And The Beat Goes On.”