'Spirit in the Sky' Singer Norman Greenbaum Hurt in Crash That Killed Motorcyclist

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/ Source: NBC News

The singer-songwriter best known for writing and performing the 1969 hit song "Spirit in the Sky" remained in a hospital Monday, two days after he was hurt in a car crash north of San Francisco that left a motorcyclist dead, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Norman Greenbaum, 72, was brought to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in critical condition after the car he was a passenger in collided with a motorcycle, according to a statement from the California Highway Patrol (CHP). A spokesman at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital told NBC News that Greenbaum was still at the hospital Monday, but he declined to comment on Greenbaum's condition due to patient confidentiality rights.

The driver of the motorcycle, 20-year-old Ihab Usama Halaweh, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, according to the CHP statement. A passenger on the motorcycle, Nhmia Mekonnen Kahsay, 20, was also brought to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in critical condition, the statement said.

The driver of the car in which Greenbaum was riding, Bonita Kay Perea, 62, told authorities that she didn’t see the approaching motorcycle when she made a turn, the statement said. CHP Officer Daniel Hill told NBC News that Perea was unharmed.

Hill said Greenbaum was described to him as a “local celebrity.” On his Twitter page, Greenbaum calls himself a “One Hit Wonder.” The single “Spirit in the Sky” sold 2 million copies and has been featured in television shows, commercials and more than 50 movies.

Undated photo of Norman Greenbaum; Posed portrait of Norman Greenbaum with acoustic guitar.GAB Archive / Getty Images

— Elisha Fieldstadt