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Kevin Anderson

Warwick, R.I.


Kevin Anderson loved everything about the 1980s: the bright clothes, the big hair styles, and especially the guitar-driven rock music.

"We always used to kid him about that," said Anderson's older sister, Susan Sylvia. "We joshed him about being permanently stuck in the '80s."

Anderson, 37, grew up in Warwick, head-banging to bands like Great White. He still favored bleached jeans and tight muscle shirts. He kept his hair dyed blond and wore it long, an homage to the hard-rocking hair bands he fell for as a teenager at Pilgrim High School.

"That's the reason he was at The Station," Sylvia said. "He absolutely loved that music."

But times had been tough for Anderson. Three years ago, he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, a condition that prevented him from holding a permanent job and required him to make regular visits to Kent County Hospital in Warwick.

"He'd been sick for a while," said Anderson's father, William. "But not many people knew. He was quiet about it."

Despite the illness, Anderson remained upbeat. According to Sylvia, he was particularly excited about a new apartment he moved into two weeks ago.

"I was there the day before the concert, helping him hang new curtains," she said, explaining that he was tired of living with friends. "He was happy about finally being out on his own."

Anderson had not planned on attending the Great White concert. He was given a ticket the day of the show and went with three other people, all of whom survived. Minutes before the fire started, two of Anderson's friends ran out of money and left The Station to search for an ATM, according to William Anderson. Anderson's other friend, whom Sylvia could identify only as Neil, escaped with minor leg injuries.

"It's a terrible tragedy," Sylvia said. "I think Kevin was starting to finally get things back on track."