On October 12, 1997, Denver, who was born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr., was killed when the aircraft he was piloting, an experimental Adrian Davis Long-EZ plane, crashed just off the coast of California at Pacific Grove, shortly after taking off from the Monterey Regional Airport.
The official investigation by the National Transport Safety Board concluded that the pilot had most likely lost control of the aircraft after facing issues with the fuel selector, causing it to nosedive into the ocean. Had he refueled before taking off, he would not have needed to switch to the reserve tank mid-flight and could possibly be alive today.
John was 53 at the time of his death.
Monterey Regional Airport
Pacific Grove CA 93950