Gregg Allman, Dead at 69

Founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman has passed at the age of 69, according to his official website. A statement on the site said the following:

It is with deep sadness that we announce that Gregg Allman, a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, passed away peacefully at his home in Savannah, Georgia.

Gregg struggled with many health issues over the past several years. During that time, Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans, essential medicine for his soul. Playing music lifted him up and kept him going during the toughest of times.

Gregg’s long time manager and close friend, Michael Lehman said, “I have lost a dear friend and the world has lost a brilliant pioneer in music. He was a kind and gentle soul with the best laugh I ever heard. His love for his family and bandmates was passionate as was the love he had for his extraordinary fans. Gregg was an incredible partner and an even better friend. We will all miss him.”

Gregg is survived by his wife, Shannon Allman, his children, Devon, Elijah Blue, Delilah Island Kurtom and Layla Brooklyn Allman; 3 grandchildren, his niece, Galadrielle Allman, lifelong friend Chank Middleton, and a large extended family. The family will release a statement soon, but for now ask for privacy during this very difficult time.

Rumors had swirled for weeks that Allman had entered hospice care, only to be debunked by Allman himself in a statement on Facebook:

A message from Gregg: “Hey everyone. I just wanted y’all to know that I’m currently home in Savannah resting on my…

Posted by Gregg Allman on Monday, April 24, 2017

Allman and his brother Duane, who died in a motorcycle accident in 1971, formed the Allman Brothers Band in 1969. The band quickly became an influential member of the burgeoning improv scene, performing at the now legendary Summer Jam show at the Watkins Glen race track on July 28, 1973, along with the Grateful Dead and the Band in 1973. The show, which received the Guinness Book of World Records honor of “Largest Audience at a Pop Festival,” drew upwards of 600,000 fans.

The band’s breakthrough album, At Fillmore East, featuring extended versions of “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and “Whipping Post,” put the Allmans on the musical map. Fillmore is, to this day, considered one of the best live albums ever produced.

Allman began his career on guitar but his brother Duane’s talent on guitar eventually resulted in Allman settling as keyboardist for his namesake band, setting the stage for his near 50 year career in the recording industry.

Allman married Cher in 1975. Together they had a son, Elijah Blue Allman. Allman was recording solo at this point and recorded an album with Cher, Two the Hard Way that was met with scorn from the press. The ensuing tour created friction between Cher fans and Allman fans, resulting in Cher cancelling the tour.

In 1987, Allman reached a renaissance with his solo album I’m No Angel. The title track reached number one on the Billboard charts and signaled a resurgence for the musician.

Allman’s chemical dependency, resulting in a 2010 liver transplant never truly weaned. He commented on it in an interview with Stuff Magazine in 2011:

“my generation…we were all just such heavy drug takers. We didn’t know no different. We didn’t know no other way. It was what we did. And that’s going to come back and hit ya – and it got me. But I’ve been clean a while now, I quit it all – finally – 16 years ago, thank god.

The Allman Brothers Band regularly performed an annual run of shows at the Beacon in New York, a run that concluded in 2014 after 238 sellouts. Allman had been scheduled to perform with ZZ Top on tour last year but pulled out due to health reasons. He had been working on his first solo album since the Allman Brothers’ retirement with producer Don Was.