Gregg Allman dead: Southern rock pioneer dies aged 69
Gregg Allman, leader of the Allman Brothers Band and a major force in the creation of Southern rock, has died at the age of 69.
The singer-keyboardist helped found the band alongside his guitarist brother, Duane Allman, who died in 1971 after a motorcycle accident. The band boasted a fusion of blues, jazz, and country music which put heavy emphasis on the art of improvisation and instrumentals, with 1971's At Fillmore East often considered one the greatest live albums of all time.
A statement posted to the musician's Facebook page revealed Allman had “passed away peacefully at his home in Savannah, Georgia”. It said: “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."
"It's too soon to properly process this," Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts said in a statement. "I'm so glad I was able to have a couple good talks with him before he passed. In fact I was about to call him to check and see how he was when I got the call. It's a very sad day."
Michael Lehman, Allman's manager and close friend, also stated: “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."
Tributes poured in from musicians across the industry, including ex-wife Cher, who wrote on Twitter: "I've tried... words are impossible. Gui Gui forever. Chooch," Ringo Starr also wrote, "Rest in peace Greg [sic] Allman peace and love to all the family."
Allman is survived by his wife, Shannon Allman, and his children, Devon, Elijah Blue, Delilah Island Kurtom and Layla Brooklyn Allman.