George Gershwin never married, even when he was closely linked with a woman. His death at the age of 38 was one of the most shocking deaths in the musical circle in the 1930s.

Born on September 26, 1898, in Brooklyn, New York, Gershwin was the second of four children of his parents. He had an elder brother Ida, a younger brother Arthur, and a sister Frances.

Who Was George Gershwin Wife? His Love Story With Kay Swift

Though George Gershwin was in a relationship with the composer Kay Swift, they were never married. They had a ten-year affair.

Gershwin and Swift were frequently seen together. Both of them being accomplished composers, the former would consult the latter about his music. 

Swift's husband Jimmy would frequently be out of town for business. He was unsuspecting and tolerant about his wife meeting the fellow composer. However, he had some resentment toward the "self-centered genius" who had interfered with his life.


Swift was in love with Gershwin and wanted to commit to the relationship, so eventually, due to the affair, her marriage ended in divorce in 1934. However, the two never married each other.

According to Swift's granddaughter Katharine Weber, the lovely couple was never married because George's mother Rose was unhappy that Kay wasn't Jewish. Moreover, his reluctance to marry was well known to his family and friends. Ira thought that George was too uncomfortable with children.

Despite not marrying, the two never stopped being with each other. Both of their works were heavily influenced by each other. George named his 1926 musical Oh, Kay after his love interest. 

Kay Swift arranged some of Gershwin's music after his death. She transcribed several of his recordings and collaborated with his brother Ira on several projects.

George Gershwin Death Cause

George Gershwin died of a brain tumor on July 11, 1937. He had been complaining of blinding headaches and a recurring impression that he smelled burning rubber.

Early in 1037, Gershwin, a superb pianist, suffered blackouts and coordination problems during his live performance with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under the direction of French maestro Pierre Monteux.


He was living with his brother Ira and sister-in-law Leonore in a rented house in Beverley Hills. George's mood swings and his seeming inability to eat without spilling food at the dinner table were noticed by Leonore, who suspected a mental illness.

After that, George was kept in the care of his valet, Paul Mueller at lyricist Yip Harburg's empty quarters nearby. However, the headaches and olfactory hallucinations did not stop.

George collapsed on July 9, 1937, and was rushed to Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles where he fell into a coma. Two days later July 11, 1937, doctors at Cedars removed a large brain tumor, believed to have been glioblastoma. However, he did not survive and died that day.

A memorial concert was held as a tribute to George Gershwin at the Hollywood Bowl on September 8, 1937. Otto Klemperer conducted his own orchestration of the second of Gershwin's Three Preludes.