Family of Kiss guitar tech sue band over COVID-19 death

Francis Stueber passed away in 2021 after contracting COVID-19 during the band’s End of the Road World Tour.


Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for A&E

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Kiss‘s Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are reportedly being sued over the death of one of their longtime guitar techs, Francis Stueber.

Stueber, who had been with Kiss for more than 20 years, passed away in 2021 after contracting COVID-19 during the band’s End of the Road World Tour.

According to Rolling Stone, Stueber’s widow and several members of her family have now filed a lawsuit claiming both negligence and wrongful death. They are seeking damages from members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, their longtime manager Doc McGhee, the tour’s promoter Live Nation, and hotel chain Marriott International.

The suit alleges that “the failure to enforce or have adequate COVID-19 policies or procedures caused a Covid-19 outbreak amongst band members and tour personnel.”

It states: “As a direct and proximate result of the dangerous condition created by Defendants, Decedent suffered fatal injuries and Plaintiffs suffered damages, including, but not limited to funeral and burial expenses, the permanent deprivation of the love companionship, affection solace, society, comfort, assistance, services and financial contributions, and moral support of Decedent in an amount according to proof at trial.”

Per the suit, Stueber contracted COVID-19 while in Detroit and was “abandoned” at the Four Points Hotel By Sheraton to quarantine as part of their protocol. Stueber reportedly contacted McGhee as he became sicker, with the latter promising to arrange for a medical personnel to check in on the technician and failing to do so.

Documents also state that another crew member was sent to visit Stueber, but Stueber was dead by the time the person arrived at his hotel – just two days after he tested positive for the virus.

The lawsuit comes nearly two years after crew members claimed Stueber’s death was caused by a lack of safety measures and lax Covid protocols during the tour.

“Every day during the shows, we weren’t tested. And there are so many unknowns,” a roadie told Rolling Stone. “Did we superspread this, did we spread this thing from city to city? It’s horrible that Fran passed, and it’s horrible if this is our protocol just for us to tour. Is this going to be the normal, to stick someone in a hotel and if somebody dies, ‘Oh, well, off to the next guy?’ ”

At the time of writing, none of the defendants have responded to the accusations in the lawsuit.

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