What is agoraphobia? Christine McVie's struggles explored as musician dies aged 79

Christine McVie had a fear of flying and agoraphobia. (Image via Kevin Mazur/Getty)
Christine McVie had a fear of flying and agoraphobia. (Image via Kevin Mazur/Getty)

English musician Christine McVie of the rock band Fleetwood Mac recently passed away at the age of 79.

The news, was announced by her family as they stated that McVie died "peacefully" on November 30 after a "brief illness."

"She was in the company of her family."
So so sad to hear about Christine McVie an artist I held dear and close to my heart. One of the greatest all time songwriters, singers, and band members, she radiated both purity and sass in equal measure, bringing light to the music of the 70s. RIP. - John

The family asked for privacy at this "extremely painful time," and asked everyone to keep Christine McVie "in their hearts and remember the life of an incredible human being and revered musician who was loved universally."

Christine McVie developed agoraphobia long after leaving Fleetwood Mac. While speaking on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs show, she revealed:

β€œI developed agoraphobia, a dreadful fear of leaving my front doorstep, I couldn’t even get in my car, that’s how bad it was.”

Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder

According to Mayo Clinic, Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder where a person fears and avoids places or situations that might cause them to panic, become trapped, embarrassed, or feel helpless. The person may fear being in enclosed spaces, using public transport, being in the public, or even standing in a queue.

R.I.P Christine McVie πŸ™The longtime Fleetwood Mac keyboardist and singer died at the age of 79.

Some people might also develop panic disorders on top of agoraphobia. Some of its symptoms include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Trouble breathing or a feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Feeling shaky, numb, or tingling
  • Excessive sweating
  • Sudden flushing or chills
  • Upset stomach or diarrhea
  • Feeling a loss of control
  • Fear of dying

Christine McVie struggled with fear of flying

Oh no. πŸ’” The voice of an angel. RIP #christinemcvie Forever loved.

In 1998, Christine McVie left Fleetwood Mac after 30 years of rocking the world. At the time, she stated that she was struggling with panic attacks and had a phobia of flying. However, her fear did not develop until after 1994 when she began choosing different options for commuting.

While speaking with CBS News, Christine McVie said:

"The [Northridge, California] earthquake happened in β€˜94 and I developed a phobia about flying. It was multiple reasons why I thought, β€˜I’ve had enough. I wanna go home, and live in the country and get a Range Rover and get the dogs, the wellie [Wellington] boots, and the scarf and cook for the YMCA,’ or whatever.”

In an interview with the Guardian, Christine McVie revealed that she had overcome her fear of flying because of fellow band member Mick Fleetwood and had joined the band back.

We're saddened to hear of the passing of Fleetwood Mac writer, keyboardist, and vocalist Christine McVie.Rest in peace, Christine πŸ•ŠοΈ
β€œOne day I just decided not to be afraid of it anymore, and that was it! I felt liberated. Then I thought: β€˜I’m actually enjoying this.’ Life’s too short to be afraid of things like flying. You’d never go anywhere. I love flying now.”

Aside from the band, on the personal front, McVie was married to John McVie from 1968 to 1976. After splitting up with him, she went on to marry musician Eddy Quintella in 1986. They divorced in 2003.

This is not the first time a band member of Fleetwood Mac has passed away. In 2020, singer and guitarist Peter Green died at the age of 73.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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