He was killed in a helicopter crash on October 25, 1991.
In tribute, on November 3, 1991, a free concert called "Laughter, Love and Music" was held at Golden Gate Park to honor Graham. An estimated 300,000 people attended to view many of the entertainment acts Graham had supported including Journey.
Concert Promoter Bill Graham was killed in a helicopter crash on October 25, 1991. The Bell Jet Ranger flew directly into a 223-foot high-voltage tower near Highway 37, which runs between Vallejo, California and Marin County, California. The helicopter burst into flames on impact. The charred remains of the helicopter hung eerily in the tower for more than a day.
Following his death, his company, Bill Graham Presents (BGP), was taken over by a group of employees. Graham's sons remained a core part of the new management team. The new owners sold the company to SFX Promotions, which in turn sold the company to Clear Channel Entertainment. The BGP staff did not embrace the Clear Channel name, and several members of the Graham staff eventually left the company. Former BGP President/CEO Gregg Perloff and former Senior Vice President Sherry Wasserman left and started their own company, Another Planet Entertainment. Eventually Clear Channel separated itself from concert promotion and formed Live Nation, which is managed by many former Clear Channel executives.
In tribute, the San Francisco Civic Auditorium was renamed the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. On November 3, 1991, a free concert called "Laughter, Love and Music" was held at Golden Gate Park to honor Graham, Gold and Kahn. An estimated 300,000 people attended to view many of the entertainment acts Graham had supported including Santana, the Grateful Dead, John Fogerty, Robin Williams, Journey (reunited), and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (reunited). The video for "I'll Get By" from Eddie Money's album Right Here was dedicated to Graham. Graham's images and poster artwork still adorn the office walls at Live Nation's new San Francisco office. With the band Hardline, Neal Schon of Journey composed a piece entitled "31–91" in 1992 in Graham's honor.