According to a statement posted on the official E Street site, Springsteen's cousin Lenny Sullivan died at the age of 36 of undisclosed causes.
"A warm and sensitive person, he was beloved by Bruce, the Band, the crew, and the entire Thrill Hill family," read the statement. "Bruce and the Band deeply appreciate the understanding of our Kansas City audience and look forward to returning at the earliest opportunity." The Kansas City Star reported that Sullivan was found dead at Kansas City's Intercontinental Hotel just three hours before the group was slated to perform. A spokesperson for the Kansas City Police Department said officers were investigating the death, which they did not believe was suspicious.
The announcement of the show cancellation came just 90 minutes before the scheduled 7:30 start time, after the gear had already been loaded in and just minutes before the doors were going to open for fans.
The E Street Band's next scheduled gig is Thursday night at Madison Square Garden for the opening night of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary concerts, where Simon & Garfunkel (and Paul Simon's solo act); Crosby, Stills, Nash & Friends; and Stevie Wonder are also set to perform. It was announced on Monday that Eric Clapton, who was slated to perform at Friday night's show, has pulled out because of gallbladder surgery; he will be replaced by fellow English guitar legend Jeff Beck.