Gregg Allman, the legendary frontman of The Allman Brothers, died on Saturday, a publicist said. He was 69.
Allman died in his home in Savannah, Georgia, publicist Ken Weinstein said. A statement on the singer’s website said that he “passed away peacefully.”
Allman, who is credited with the ousting of the Southern rock movement, canceled some of its 2016 tour dates after the announcement in August that he was “under doctor’s care at the Mayo Clinic,” due to “serious health problems.” Later that year, he canceled more dates citing a throat injury. And in March of 2017, he canceled performances for the rest of the year.
“Gregg is regarded as being on the road playing music with his brothers and his solo band for his beloved fans essential medicine for his soul,” a statement on the Allman’s website said. “The music is playing, lifted him and kept him going during the hardest moments.”
The Nashville rocker, known for his long blonde hair, grew up in Florida by a single mother, after his father was shot to death. He idolized his older brother, Duane, eventually joining a series of bands with him before they end up making the core of The Allman Brothers Band.
The original band featured extended jams, tight guitar harmonies by Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, rhythms of a few of the drummers and the smoky blues-inflected voice of Gregg Allman. Songs such as “Whipping Post,” “Ramblin’ Man” and “Midnight Rider,” helped define what came to be known as Southern rock and opened for such stars as Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band.
In 2012, his memoir, “My Cross to Bear,” Allman explains how Duane was a central figure in his life in the years after their father was murdered by a man he met in a bar. The two boys had endured, a spell in a military school before they are swept up in the rock music in their teenage years. Although Gregg was the first to pick up a guitar, it was Duane who excelled. So Gregg later switched to the organ.
They failed to crack success until they formed The Allman Brothers Band in 1969. Located in Macon, Georgia, the group recommended Beets, drummers Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson and Butch Trucks, bassist Berry Oakley. They partied to excess while defining a sound that still excites millions.
Their self-titled debut album came out in 1969, but it was their breakthrough live album “At Fillmore East” in 1971 that catapulted the band to stardom.
While Duane Allman quickly began to rise in the pantheon of great guitarists, tragedy struck. He was killed in a motorcycle accident in October 1971, months after the recording of the Fillmore shows. Another motorcycle accident the following year claimed Oakley’s life.
In 2012, In an interview with The Associated Press, Gregg Allman said Duane remained on his mind every day. Once in a while, he could even feel his presence.
“I can tell when he is there, man,” Allman said. “I’m not going to get all cosmic on you. But listen, he is there.”
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The 1970 has a lot of publicity turmoil: Allman was compelled to testify in a drug case against a former road manager of the band and his marriage with the actress and singer Cher was of short duration even by show business standards.
In 1975, Cher and Allman were married, three days after she separated from her husband and singing partner, Sonny Bono. Their marriage was tumultuous from the start, Cher requested a divorce just nine days after their Las Vegas marriage, although she dismissed the suit a month later.
Together they brought a lot of airplay duets album under the name “Allman and Woman.” They have a child together, Elijah Blue, Cher filed for separation from bed and board in 1977.
The Allman Brothers Band also split up in the 1980s, and then formed again several times over the years. A changing cast of players has included Derek Trucks, nephew of original drummer Butch Trucks, guitarist Warren Haynes.
Since 1990 more than 20 years after its inception, the new band started with the release of new music and a new audience. In 1995 the band was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and won a Grammy Award for best rock instrumental performance for “Jessica” the following year.
In 2000, Betts was ousted from the band via fax for alleged substance abuse and poor performance, and he has not played with the band since.
Butch Trucks died in January 2017. Authorities say he shot himself in front of his wife at their Florida home.
In his memoir, Allman said he spent years overindulging in women, drugs and alcohol before you sober in the middle of the 1990s. He said that after getting sober, he felt “new” at the age of 50.
“I’ve never believed in God, until this,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press in 1998. “I asked him to get me out of this or let me die, for all the innings are played. Now I have started with some spiritualism.”
However, after all the years of unhealthy living, he ended up with hepatitis C who severely damaged his liver. He underwent a liver transplant in 2010.
After the surgery, he turned to music to help him recover and released his first solo album in 14 years, “Low Country Blues” in 2011.
“I think it is because you are doing something that you love,” Allman said in 2011 in an interview with The Associated Press. “I think it just creates a distraction from the pain itself. You have swallowed something you love, you know, and you’re just totally engulfed.”
The band was honored with a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2012.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.