Robert Hunter, Grateful Dead's poetic lyricist, dead at 78

Robert Hunter, the man behind the poetic and mystical words for many of the Grateful Dead's finest songs, has died at age 78.

Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart says Hunter died Monday at his Northern California home. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Although proficient on a number of instruments including guitar, violin, cello and trumpet, Hunter never appeared on stage with the Grateful Dead.

Instead he was content to stay in the background and let his written words speak for him during the band's 30-year run that ended with the 1995 death of guitarist Jerry Garcia.

Hunter's songs included such classics as "Truckin'," ''Uncle John's Band," ''Box of Rain" and "Ripple."

He also collaborated with Bob Dylan and others, including Hart and other members of the Grateful Dead.