List Of Members Of The Forever 27 Club

Kurt Cobain

The Forever 27 Club was coined after Kurt Cobain's death.
The Forever 27 Club was coined after Kurt Cobain's death. | Source

History of the Forever 27 Club

The number 27 may just be the most infamous number in the history of rock music. This number has taken on mythical proportions due to the prevalence of musicians who died at the age of 27.

The 27 death phenomenon started to become prevalent during the years 1969-71. During that period the rock & roll world lost the following musicians due to death: Dickie Pride, Brian Jones, Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Arlester "Dyke" Christian. The term "Forever 27 Club" was not coined to refer to the list of musicians who died at the age of 27 until after Kurt Cobain death on April 5th, 1994. Since the death of Cobain, there has been much focus in the media surrounding the 27 death phenomenon. Also the high profile death of Amy Winehouse on July 23rd, 2011 once again brought renewed interest concerning the 27 club.

With the June 19, 2016 death of actor Anton Yelchin (Pavel Checkov in the reboot of The Star Trek movie series), the 27 Club once again was starting to make news. With his death the media started to include young actors and other notable artists has part of the 27 Club. Even though their deaths were as equally tragic, this article is focusing on musicians that died at that age.

Notable Members of the Forever 27 Club

Even though the formation of the 27 club is quite often linked to 1969 with the death of Rolling Stones bassist Brian Jones, there were a number of musicians who died at the age of 27 prior to that. The most prominent is one of the founding fathers of the blues, Robert Johnson. The earliest recorded member of the 27 club was composer Alexandre Levy who died on January 17th, 1892.

Now we are going to profile a selected list of Forever 27 Club members. This includes high profile members along with rock & roll unsung heroes who died before their time.

Robert Johnson

Because there has been so little that has been properly documented about the influential blues artist Robert Johnson, this has contributed to his legendary folklore. His dying at the young age of 27 also adds to his considerable legend. He died on August 16th, 1938. It was at times contributed to strychnine poisoning, but this is also widely disputed. The mystery surrounding his death also contributes to his significant legacy.

Even though his recordings consisted of a scant 29 master recordings that were recorded during 1936-37 his music was an important part of the fabric of rock and roll.

Me and the Devil Blues by Robert Johnson (Video)

Brian Jones 1965

Founding member and guitarist for The Rolling Stones is quite often referred to as the starting point of the development of the 27 Club.
Founding member and guitarist for The Rolling Stones is quite often referred to as the starting point of the development of the 27 Club. | Source

Brian Jones

Brain Jones was a founding member and guitarist for The Rolling Stones. Due to developing a serious drug addiction he was kicked out of the Rolling Stones in 1969, being replaced by Mick Taylor. Less than a month later he died on July 3rd, 1969 due to a tragic drowning accident which took place at his swimming pool.

When people make reference to the 27 club, Jones is quite often is referred to as the start of that rock movement. His death was the beginning of a two year period which also marked the deaths of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin & Jim Morrison at the age of 27.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix is widely considered to be the greatest guitarist of all time and is considered to be one of the most influential musicians in the history of rock. One of the remarkable aspects of Hendrix's recording career is that his rich legacy was primarily established during a three year period.

Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 27, on September 18th, 1970. The official cause of death has been cited as Asphyxiation caused by an overdose of painkillers. That being said conspiracy theorist has also cited the possibility of suicide and murder. Like many of the great rock & roll casualties, the mysterious circumstances behind his death have added to his legacy.

Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix (Video)

Janis Joplin

The "The Queen of Psychedelic Soul" died just 16 days after Jimi Hendrix on October 4, 1970. The official cause of death was cited as a heroin overdose which may have been exasperated by the abuse of alcohol.

Like many of the members of the 27 club, she was a deeply troubled artist who lived a hard life. She also is widely considered one of the most influential female vocalists of all time.

Jim Morrison German Postage Stamp


Jim Morrison

The charismatic front man of The Doors died at the age of 27 on July 3rd, 1971. Morrison died two years from the day that Brian Jones died. He allegedly died of a heroin overdose, but because an autopsy was never performed there is still some debate concerning the official cause. One conspiracy theory involved Morrison faking his death, and that he never really died.

Jim Morrison was buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris France. His grave site has become a popular tourist attraction. It has also caused issues with the cemetery due to vandalism.

Jim Morrison's long time companion, Pamela Courson, died on April 25th, 1974. She was also 27 years old.

Map of Père Lachaise Cemetery

A markerPère Lachaise Cemetery -
Le Père Lachaise, 15 Boulevard de Ménilmontant, 75011 Paris, France
[get directions]

Père Lachaise Cemetery is the location of Jim Morrison's grave site.

Ron "Pigpen" McKernan

Ron "Pigpen" McKernan was a founding member of The Grateful Dead. On March 3rd, 1973 he was found dead of a Gastrointestinal hemorrhage which was complicated by alcohol abuse.

McKernan also had a brief relationship with fellow club 27 member Janis Joplin. On a couple of occasions the two dueted together on the Dead's live standard "Turn on Your Lovelight.

Chris Bell

Chris Bell was the lead guitarist and along with Alex Chilton he was the primary songwriter for Big Star. Bell left the band after their influential, but commercially overlooked power pop gem #1 Record. He went on to release two songs in 1978, "I Am the Cosmos" & "You and Your Sister". These two songs were also included in his posthumous debut solo, I Am the Cosmos, which wasn't released until 1992.

Bell died on December 27th, 1978 when he lost control of his Triumph TR7 sports car. His funeral took place the next day on December 28th, which coincided with the birthday of former band mate Alex Chilton. Bell continues to be an influential figure in the development of power pop and indie rock.

You and Your Sister by Chris Bell

D. Boon

D. Boon was the guitarist, lead vocalist and one of the primary songwriters (along with Mike Watt) for the influential hardcore punk band Minutemen. D. Boon was listed as #89 on Rolling Stones list of the 100 greatest guitarist of all time. His guitar style which had a heavy funk & blues feel help make the Minutemen more diverse than the average band from the 80s' hardcore scene.

Boon died on December 22nd, 1985 due to a Van accident. Because he had a fever he was laying in the back recuperating when the van crashed.

Since D. Boon tragic death, Mike Watt and George Hurley of Minutemen continued on as fIREHOSE. Every album Mike Watt has put out, either solo or as part of fIREHOSE as been dedicated to his fallen compadre. He has also written a number of songs as a direct tribute to D. Boon.

History Lesson Part II by Minutemen (Video)

Kurt Cobain

It was after Kurt Cobain's death on April 5th, 1994 which really started to generate interest in the 27 death phenomenon. It was after the death of the Nirvana's front man that the term "Forever 27 Club" (also referred to as 27 Club, Club 27 and Curse of 27) started to be used.

Like many of the previous members of Club 27, Cobain was deeply troubled and there are numerous conspiracy theories surrounding his death. The official cause of death is suicide, but there are those that feel he was murdered. There are also theories that Cobain intentionally timed his death so that he could join his musical idols as a member of the 27 club.

Richey Edwards

The rhythm guitarist and main lyricists of UK alternative band Manic Street Preachers is one of the more mysterious additions to the list. Edwards went missing on February 1st, 1995 and he was presumed dead on November 23rd, 2008. Because his car was found abandoned on February 17th, 1995 in close proximity to Severn Bridge, it is widely believed that he committed suicide.

Prior to these events Edwards was known to be deeply disturbed. One of the more obvious signs is when he took a photo of himself with the words "4 Real" carved into his arm. The mysterious circumstances surrounding his disappearance have helped cement his cult status within the UK.

The ninth album recorded by the Manic Street Preachers, Journal for Plague Lovers was released on May 18th, 2009 and feature previously unused lyrics written by Edwards.

Amy Winehouse

When Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on July 23rd, 2011 she became the most high profile member of the 27 club since the death of Kurt Cobain. Winehouse death definitely renewed interest in the curse of 27.

Just like the other more high profile members of club 27, Winehouse was deeply troubled and she lived a hard life which lead to her premature demise.

Her throwback style with an edge was considered to be truly influential to a number of female artists who would go on to achieve substantial success.

List of Members of The Forever 27 Club

Date of Birth
Date of Death
Cause of Death
Reason for Fame
Alexandre Levy
November 10, 1864
January 17, 1892
Brazilian composer, pianist and conductor
Louis Chauvin
March 13, 1881
March 26, 1908
Neurosyphilitic sclerosis
American ragtime musician
Robert Johnson
May 8, 1911
August 16, 1938
Unknown, but widely viewed as strychnine poisoning
Influential blues artist
Nat Jaffe
January 1, 1918
August 5, 1945
Complications from high blood pressure
American swing jazz pianist
Jesse Belvin
December 15, 1932
February 6, 1960
Car crash
R&B singer, pianist and songwriter
Rudy Lewis
August 23, 1936
May 20, 1964
Autopsy was never performed; probable drug overdose
Vocalist of The Drifters
Joe Henderson
April 24, 1937
October 25, 1964
Heart attack
Gospel and R&B singer
Malcolm Hale
May 17, 1941
October 30, 1968
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Original member and lead guitarist of Spanky and Our Gang
Dickie Pride
October 21, 1941
March 26, 1969
Overdose of sleeping pills
Rock and roll singer
Brian Jones
February 28, 1942
July 3, 1969
Rolling Stones founder, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist
Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson
July 4, 1943
September 3, 1970
Barbiturate overdose, sometimes cited as suicide
Lead singer and primary songwriter of Canned Heat
Jimi Hendrix
November 27, 1942
September 18, 1970
Asphyxiation (which is disputed)
Electric guitar pioneer, singer and songwriter for The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsys
Janis Joplin
January 19, 1943
October 4, 1970
Probable heroin overdose
Front woman and songwriter for Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Kozmic Blues Band and Full Tilt Boogie Band
Arlester "Dyke" Christian
June 13, 1943
March 13, 1971
Front man & bassist for influential American funk band Dyke & the Blazers
Jim Morrison
December 8, 1943
July 3, 1971
No Autopsy, cause of death disputed
Lead singer and lyricist for The Doors
Linda Jones
December 14, 1944
March 14, 1972
Soul Singer
Les Harvey
September 13, 1944
May 3, 1972
Guitarist for Stone the Crows
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan
September 8, 1945
March 8, 1973
Gastrointestinal hemorrhage
Founding member of the Grateful Dead
Roger Lee Durham
February 14, 1946
July 27, 1973
Injuries from falling off a horse
Singer and percussionist for R&B group Bloodstone
Wallace Yohn
January 12, 1947
August 12, 1974
Plane crash
Organist for jazz rock band Chase
Dave "Zander" Alexander
June 3, 1947
February 10, 1975
Original bassist of influential proto-punk band The Stooges
Pete Ham
April 27, 1947
April 24, 1975
Singer, guitar player, and songwriter for Badfinger
Gary Thain
May 15, 1948
December 15, 1975
Heroin overdose
Former bassist of Uriah Heep and The Keef Hartley Band
October 11, 1948
August 2, 1976
Car crash
Spanish singer-songwriter
Helmut Köllen
March 2, 1950
May 3, 1977
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Bassist for German prog rock group Triumvirat & solo
Chris Bell
January 25, 1951
December 27, 1978
Car crash
Songwriter and guitarist of power pop band Big Star and solo
Zenon De Fleur
September 9, 1951
March 17, 1979
Heart attack due to complications suffered in a car crash
Guitarist for British rock band The Count Bishops
Jacob Miller
May 4, 1952
March 23, 1980
Car crash
Reggae artist and lead singer for Inner Circle
D. Boon
April 1, 1958
December 22, 1985
Van crash
Guitarist, songwriter & lead singer of punk band the Minutemen
Alexander Bashlachev
May 27, 1960
February 17, 1988
Fall from 9th floor window, most likely suicide
Russian musician, guitarist, and singer-songwriter
Jean-Michel Basquiat
December 22, 1960
August 12, 1988
Speedball overdose
Painter and graffiti artist; formed the band Gray
Pete de Freitas
August 2, 1961
June 14, 1989
Motorcycle crash
Drummer for Echo & the Bunnymen
Dimitar Voev
May 21, 1965
September 5, 1992
Lead singer of Bulgarian dark wave band Nova Generacia
Mia Zapata
August 8, 1965
July 7, 1993
Lead singer of punk band The Gits
Kurt Cobain
February 20, 1967
April 5, 1994
Founding member, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for Nirvana
Kristen Pfaff
May 26, 1967
June 16, 1994
Heroin overdose
Bass guitarist for Hole and Janitor Joe
Richey Edwards
December 22, 1967
February 1, 1995
Disappeared; officially presumed dead November 23, 2008
Lyricist and guitarist for Manic Street Preachers
Fat Pat
December 4, 1970
February 3, 1998
Rapper and member of Screwed Up Click
Freaky Tah
May 14, 1971
March 28, 1999
Rapper and member of the Lost Boyz
February 1, 1972
June 21, 1999
Subarachnoid hemorrhage
Drummer for Japanese visual kei rock band Malice Mizer
Rodrigo Bueno
May 24, 1973
June 24, 2000
Car crash
Cuarteto singer
Sean Patrick McCabe
November 13, 1972
August 28, 2000
Lead singer of Ink & Dagger
Maria Serrano Serrano
November 26, 1973
November 24, 2001
Plane crash
Background singer for Passion Fruit
Jeremy Michael Ward
May 5, 1976
May 25, 2003
Heroin overdose
The Mars Volta and De Facto sound manipulator
Bryan Ottoson
March 18, 1978
April 19, 2005
Prescription drug overdose
Guitarist for American Head Charge
Valentín Elizalde
February 1, 1979
November 26, 2006
Mexican banda singer
Amy Winehouse
September 14, 1983
July 23, 2011
Alcohol poisoning
Richard Turner
July 30, 1984
August 11, 2011
Heart attack while swimming
Trumpet player, collaborator with Friendly Fires
Nicole Bogner
March 22, 1984
January 6, 2012
Unspecified severe sickness
Former lead singer for Australian metal band Visions of Atlantis
Soroush "Looloosh" Farazmand
Novemeber 1, 1986
November 11, 2013
Guitarist for The Yellow Dogs
Monkey Black
July 26, 1986
April 30, 2014
Dominican rapper
Slađa Guduraš
August 11, 1987
10 December 2014
Car crash
Bosnian pop singer
Tomas Lowe
December 5, 1988
13 February 2016
Car crash which killed the entire band and manager
Bassist of UK indie rock band, Viola Beach

Which member of the Forever 27 Club is the most influntial?

  • Robert Johnson
  • Brian Jones
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Janis Joplin
  • Jim Morrison
  • Kurt Cobain
  • Amy Winehouse
  • Other (leave in comments)
See results without voting

Why 27?

One of the questions that remain is why have so many musicians died at the age of 27. There is no shortage of theories. There are numerologists that feel that 27 is a significant number, there are theories concerning the number of 27 club members that owned white lighters, and so on. Many dismiss the 27 death phenomenon as just simply an unexplained coincidence.

One factor that is widely noted is that many of the members of club 27 have lived lifestyles that have contributed to dying at a young age. Of course this doesn't fully explain why not 26 or 28. But part of the mystique of the 27 mythology is the fact that we don't have clear answers. It is the unexplained nature that helps ensures the Forever 27 Club place in rock & roll folklore.

Forever 27 Club Quiz

© 2012 CJ Baker

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Comments 39 comments

josh3418 profile image

josh3418 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

I have to be honest and admit that I know nothing about this club, but the hub was an enjoyable read! I will give you that, very informative well-written, and full of great capsules. That I can critique, and you get a 100 in my book! I can tell you took a lot of time on this hub because it shows. Keep up the great work!

Georgie Lowery profile image

Georgie Lowery 4 years ago from Slaton, Texas USA

Dude! This is a great Hub. A lot of people know about the Forever 27 Club, but they don't know the huge number of people that are in it.

spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 4 years ago from Parts Unknown Author

Josh - I appreciate the kind comments! I am also glad that you have learnt something. Learning stuff is cool!

Georgie - Thanks for the read. It is mind boggling how many musicians have died at that age.

Tom Koecke profile image

Tom Koecke 4 years ago from Tacoma, Washington

Really interesting, spartucus. I liked the capsule you put into the hub giving dates, causes, and claims to fame.

Brad Nowell missed it by a few months by turning 28 before he died. I think they should give him honorary 27 Club status.

I got 6 correct in your quiz.

Again, great job!

spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 4 years ago from Parts Unknown Author

Thanks Tom. You are right Brad just missed the cut. But 28 is still way too young, and if they had a way too young club he would belong to that.

josh3418 profile image

josh3418 4 years ago from Pennsylvania


I came across this again in my HubHopper, so I was like why not drop in again? :) Great job bud!

lizyetter profile image

lizyetter 4 years ago from Oley, PA

Very interesting article. Tweeted.

spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 4 years ago from Parts Unknown Author

Josh - Thanks again. Feel free to drop in anytime.

Lizy - Thanks for the tweet! Greatly appreciated.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

This is a club with an alarming membership. Not one of the people listed on the chart died of normal causes. It is sad and some of their music may have made a greater impact had they not passed on so early in life.

spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 4 years ago from Parts Unknown Author

You are right, this is a tragic club to be a part of. Who knows what would of happened if these gifted artists have lived longer. Thanks for reading and I appreciate the insights.

leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York

Oh my goodness - I had never heard of the 27 club before! That is so sad - 27 is such a young age to die.

spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 4 years ago from Parts Unknown Author

Yes it is a tragic club. Thanks for the comment.

lindacee profile image

lindacee 4 years ago from Southern Arizona

I remember reading about the 27 club after Amy Winehouse died. That article wasn't nearly as comprehensive as yours. Thanks for the in-depth look into this unique club membership roster. A fascinating Hub!

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

Yikes! I had not heard of the 27 Club before and am kind of floored by the number of artists who died at this age. Who knew??

This is an awesome Hub though- love the quiz, poll, videos, and reference table. Should this subject ever come up at a party, you KNOW I'll be navigating straight to this Hub on my iPhone!

spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 4 years ago from Parts Unknown Author

linda - Thanks, I appreciate the comments. I am glad you found it fascinating.

Simone - You are right, the 27 death phenomenon is truly mind boggling. I am also glad to be one of your party resources. It is always nice to gain approval from the boss lady.

innerspin profile image

innerspin 4 years ago from uk

Hadn't heard of the club before, a very interesting read, thanks. I didn't realise Hendrix and Joplin were so young. Not a club anyone would aim to join!

spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 4 years ago from Parts Unknown Author

Thanks for the comment. It is definitely tragic how many greats have died so young.

Emma Harvey profile image

Emma Harvey 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

Hi Spartucusjones - I am a big music fan and have heard of the 27 club. I had no idea there were so many musicians who died at this age though. Interesting about Amy Winehouse - I knew she was in her late twenties, but it didn't register with me that she was 27. I didn't know Richie Manic was 27 when he disappeared as well.

Such a great loss.

spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 4 years ago from Parts Unknown Author

Hey Emma, It is truly mind boggling how many great artists died at 27. I truly appreciate the read and the comment.

LisaMarie724 profile image

LisaMarie724 3 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

I also am a huge music lover and I've never heard of this before. It's hard to believe that so many talented people died at 27. Great hub and it's honestly packed with information, one of the most informative hubs I've read in a while. Great job.

spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 3 years ago from Parts Unknown Author

Thanks, LisaMarie. I am glad that you found it informative. I appreciate the read and the comment.

aparkhurst7 profile image

aparkhurst7 3 years ago from Wilkes Barre, PA West Hartford, CT

I always wonder what music would be like if Kurt Cobain was still around.

spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 3 years ago from Parts Unknown Author

It is an interesting thought. There were rumors before he died that he was going to quit Nirvana and take a break from the music industry. It would be interesting to think what directions Kurt may of took his music outside of Nirvana.

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota

Great hub spartucusjones-So sad how many incredible artists's we've lost at the young age of 27. It's a very intriguing and mysterious club. Great article with great capsules and information.

spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 2 years ago from Parts Unknown Author

Thanks Minnetonka Twin for the read and the comment! I agree that it is a tragedy that we lost so many talented artists so young. The 27 Club truly is a mysterious part of rock & roll folklore.

WriterJanis profile image

WriterJanis 2 years ago from California

I did not know of this club until I read this, but it all makes sense now. Amazing how so many talented artists died at this age. You did an outstanding job at covering this.

spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 2 years ago from Parts Unknown Author

Thanks WriterJanis for the read and comment, greatly appreciated. Glad that I introduced you to the 27 club, even though it is sad that I had to. It is tragic that we have lost so many talented individuals so young.

in 2 years ago

I first read an article about Jones Hendrix Joplin and Morrison around 93 or 94, stating how also they all carried the letter J in their names while being 60's rock stars who died at 27. Later I learnt of a few more like Thain, McKinon & Cobain. But this list is fully comprehensive. Wow.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

Man, if I was a rock star under the age of 27, this 27 death phenomenon would make me crazy scared. I had never heard of it before now. I wonder how it affects the mindset of musicians as they approach age 27.

spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 2 years ago from Parts Unknown Author

MarleneB, that is an interesting point. In the case of Cobain he was aware of the 27 club and there is rumors he may of timed events in order to be included in the club. Not sure I entirely buy that, but the sad thing is an artist could make the list by making a conscious decision to end it all at 27. But I guess it could go the other way as well. It might motivate some to clean up their act and get help, because they don't want to be another rock & roll causality. Thanks for the read and the comment.

Brennan 2 years ago

I feel that a very important member of this club has been erroneously omitted.

On September 3, 2001, we lost another beloved celebrity at the age of 27. The life of Thuy Trang - yes THE original Yellow Power Ranger - was tragically ended in a car accident. I feel that my life has most been influenced by this left out member of the Forever 27 Club.

spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 2 years ago from Parts Unknown Author

Brennan, even though she is 27 and it was tragic she died, she was not a musician. The 27 Club is a list of musicians that died at 27, so that is why she was excluded. Thanks for the read and the comment.

3 months ago

You forgot to put River Phoenix he died when he was 23, he was a singer and actor, he died on October 31 of 1993 because of an overdose of heroine and cocaine.

wayne messenger 2 months ago

Our Daughter Heather was familiar with the forever 27 club since she was a teenager. Always said she was going to join them. Well she did this last week. Accidentalty she has joined the group


spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 2 months ago from Parts Unknown Author

Hi C, since River was 23 and the 27 Club is a list of musicians who died at 27, he obviously wouldn't be included in this list. But thanks for the read and the comment.

Wayne Messenger - Sorry to hear about your daughter. My thoughts are with you during this difficult time for you and your family.

Rozie 5 weeks ago

You didn't mention Shannon Hoon at all

spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 5 weeks ago from Parts Unknown Author

Rozie, Shannon Hoon died at 28, so even though he died way too young, there was no reason to mention him in a list of musicians who died at 27. Thanks for the read and comment.

Jim 4 days ago

Great article. I have a 27 year old son and I am a big fan of most of these artists. Don't think I saw Gram Parsons mentioned in your article. According to wiki, he died just 2 months before his 27th birthday.

spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 4 days ago from Parts Unknown Author

Jim, you are right, Gram died just short of 2 months before his 27th birthday. But before is the optimal word. He was still 26 years old when he died, so for obvious reasons he was excluded. Still way too young though.

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