In 1985, de Freitas temporarily absconded from the band. He spent several months drinking in New Orleans, while attempting to form a new group, The Sex Gods. By 1987 he returned to the Bunnymen to record their fifth album, though only as a part-time member. He was married in the same year and his daughter Lucie Marie was born in 1988.
He died in a motorcycle accident in 1989 at the age of 27, on his way to Liverpool from London. He was riding a 900cc Ducati motorcycle on the A51 road in Longdon Green, Staffordshire and was in collision with a motor vehicle at approximately 16:00. His ashes are buried in Goring-on-Thames.