Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesBill Thompson, longtime manager of the Jefferson Airplane and its spinoff projects, died Monday at his home in Mill Valley, California. He was 70. Thompson’s friend Cynthia Bowman tells SFGate.com that the cause of death was a massive heart attack.

Thompson’s connection to the Jefferson Airplane began in 1964 when he became roommates with Marty Balin before the band was formed. Bill initially served as the group’s de facto press agent, but was hired as the manager in 1968, taking over for famed concert promoter Bill Graham. Thompson bought the house near San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park that famously served as the band’s headquarters, and helped guide the Airplane’s career through its appearance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival and up to its 1972 breakup.

Thompson went on to manage the Jefferson Airplane’s successor band the Jefferson Starship, as well as Hot Tuna, the folk-blues duo featuring founding Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady. He continued to manage the former group when it transformed into the more pop-oriented band Starship.

Bill also was responsible for overseeing the use of Jefferson Airplane’s music in television, films and commercials long after the band broke up.

Kaukonen paid homage to Thompson in a blog post on his official website. “[I]n the beginning when Jefferson Airplane was starting to fly, our constant companion was Bill Thompson,” he wrote. “Because of the way we did business back then, Bill was like a band member… his instrument[s] were his phone, his desk and his voice. He was one of us…I remember that little sneer he would have when he laughed… that curling of the upper lip, accompanied by something utterly inappropriate.”

The Jefferson Starship, meanwhile, also paid tribute to Thompson in a Facebook post that reads, “Remembering many great times and sending beams to Bill and his family.”

Thompson is survived by his second wife, Stephanie, and his son, Tyrone, from his first marriage.

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