Norman musician Boyd Littell found dead in Portland

Boyd Littell parks his bike in downtown Norman earlier this year during Norman Music Festival. 

Former Norman resident and musical standout Boyd Littell has died.

Littell was found dead early Tuesday morning in Colonel Summers Park in Portland, Oregon.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner has ruled Littell's death an accidental death, likely the result of him falling off his bicycle. Investigators do not suspect foul play.

Littell’s sister, Susan Greer, said investigators indicated that Littell suffered a cracked skull, and believe he then walked across the street and laid down in the park where he bled to death.

“There was no violence,” she said. “His bike was right next to him and there was money in his pocket.”

The 40 year-old musician and Norman High alumnus moved to Portland in 2014 with the Norman-born hip hop group ADDverse Effects, which returned as a main stage act during Norman Music Festival in 2017.

Littell’s music career was long, storied and eclectic. Among many, many others, Littell was a member of such notable Norman groups as The Ills and Mama Sweet. He also served as an accompanist for the University of Oklahoma School of Dance where he also studied music.

Many members of the Norman community took to social media Wednesday to express sorrow over Littell’s death and the extent of his impact on the city’s culture and character.

"I somehow managed to convince him to let me record some of his tracks," Breathing Rhythm Studio owner Steve Boaz said. "What ensued was years of the greatest musical education I will ever have. I tried my best to pick up on every nuance of what he was doing right in front of me. He was like a big brother, a well of solid, dependable information that I would use to guide myself through the rest of my life.

"As I got to know the rest of Norman and its oasis of talent, I learned what an impact he made on every single person that got to experience him ... We were lucky to have even maintained a presence like his in this town for as long as we did."

ADDverse Effects frontman Fiji Azzam said Littell was living his dream in Portland. There were challenges but everything was looking up for the band as its following swelled into the thousands. He said no one had ever pushed him so hard or believed in him so relentlessly.

"[He] never settled," Azzam said. "[He] always pushed us to be better, to think deeper, to work harder. We’re all better musicians and people because of that ... There are no more Boyd Littells in the world. [He was] truly one of a kind ...

"To be liked by Boyd was easy, to have his respect was gold."

Those are just a few of the hundreds upon hundreds of stories that spread like sorrowful wildfire throughout the day Wednesday. Greer said the outpouring has been tremendous.

“Lots of similar sentiments, a phenomenal human being and an amazing, talented musician,” she said. “Lots of good memories. Clearly he had a lot of influence and the love and appreciation of many musicians and the community at large. It’s hard not to be biased as a sister, but I always thought he was something special. He was that kid who could hear something on the radio and just sit down and play it.”

Greer said she is planning a celebration of his life and will announce those details on social media when they are finalized. A web page been set up to accept donations to assist with funeral costs. 

“He loved the community here and loved living here,” she said. "He loved Portland too ... but he was somebody special in this town.”

Mack Burke

mburke@normantranscript.com

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Mack Burke is an investigative reporter and award-winning feature writer and columnist for The Norman Transcript. An OU alumnus, he has lived in Norman since 2003.