Gregg Allman, the singer and songwriter who led The Allman Brothers Band and pioneered the Southern Rock sound, passed away on Saturday at the age of 69. An announcement on his website reads, “It is with deep sadness 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.”
John Virant, President of Rounder Records said, “On behalf of everyone at Rounder and the Concord Music Group, I’d like to offer our deepest condolences to Gregg Allman’s family, and his many friends and fans. I think I speak for all of us when I say that it has been a tremendous honor and privilege to work with Gregg. His genius gave shape to an entire genre, left an indelible mark on Southern culture, and inspired generations of young musicians. The music community has suffered an incalculable loss, and our hearts go out to all those who loved him.”
Allman sang and played keyboards in the Allman Brothers Band, which he co-founded with his brother and guitarist Duane Allman. The group mixed Country, Blues, Rock and jam band sounds to build the template for Southern Rock, influencing an endless number of bands. The Allman Brothers Band was founded in the late ’60s and hit it big a few years later with Live at the Fillmore East and Eat a Peach. However, Duane Allman died tragically in a motorcycle accident in 1971, with bassist Berry Oakley dying in a similar accident a year later. Gregg Allman went solo in 1973, married Cher in 1975 and the Allman Brothers Band broke up soon after.
Gregg Allman struggled with alcoholism for years, while continuing to release solo albums. The Allman Brothers Band reformed, split up, reformed again and evolved, as its lineup changed over time. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, then a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys in 2012. Allman was diagnosed with Hepatitis C years ago, received a liver transplant and had been suffering from further liver problems for quite some time. The Allman Brothers Band played their final show in October of 2014 while Allman continued to put out music. According to Rolling Stone, one more new album titled Southern Blood will be out in September.