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Adele Springsteen, Rock Star’s Mother, Dies at 98

Adele Springsteen, who nurtured the budding musical talent of her son, the pioneering rock star Bruce Springsteen, died on Wednesday. She was 98.

Mr. Springsteen announced his mother’s death in an Instagram post on Thursday. No cause was given, but Ms. Springsteen had struggled for more than a decade with Alzheimer’s disease.

Her son has been outspoken about his relationship with his mother and her influence on him.

Ms. Springsteen rented him his first guitar when he was 7, he said in 2021 during his Broadway show, “Springsteen on Broadway,” which ran for more than two months that year as the city began to emerge from pandemic-related closures. The show had wide-ranging reflections, including thoughts about his mother.

It was also Ms. Springsteen, he told the brimming Broadway audiences, at the St. James Theater, who danced to 1940s swing music and impressed in him the joys of bop-inspiring tunes, according to the NBC program “Today.”

He also spoke of his mother’s ability to persist in her vivacious spirit even as aging and a punishing disease took their toll.

“She’s 10 years into Alzheimer’s,” he said. “She’s 95. But the need to dance, that need to dance is something that hasn’t left her. She can’t speak. She can’t stand. But when she sees me, there’s a smile.”

Ms. Springsteen was born Adele Zerilli on May 4, 1925, in Brooklyn. She married Douglas Springsteen, with whom she had her son in 1949 and later two daughters, Virginia and Pamela.

She worked as a legal secretary and raised a young working-class family in Freehold, N.J., while her husband often struggled to find steady work and grappled with mental illness. He died in 1998.

“She willed we would be a family and we were,” Mr. Springsteen wrote in “Born to Run,” his memoir. “She willed we would not disintegrate and we did not.”

Ms. Springsteen’s high-spirited ethos, ever-present, seemed to be the through line in her life, and one that buoyed the lives of the people around her.

“My mother is the great energy — she’s the energy of the show,” Mr. Springsteen told The Miami Herald in 1987. “The consistency, the steadiness, day after day — that’s her.” He added that “it was she who created the sense of stability in the family, so that we never felt threatened through all the hard times.”

In the Instagram post on Thursday announcing his mother’s death, Mr. Springsteen shared a video of his mother, in old age, dancing to “In the Mood” by Glenn Miller, captioned with an excerpt from his own 1998 song about her, “The Wish.”

“I’m older but you’ll know me in a glance,” it read. “We’ll find us a little rock ’n’ roll bar and we’ll go out and dance.”

Aimee Ortiz contributed reporting.

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