Butch Trucks, co-founder and drummer of the Allman Brothers Band, died on Jan. 24, in West Palm Beach, Florida. He was 69.
Trucks’ booking agent confirmed the sad news to Rolling Stone, telling the outlet the cause of death has not been confirmed.
The band also shared the news on Facebook with the following statement:
Butch Trucks, a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, tragically died the night of January 24 in West Palm Beach, Florida. His wife, four children, four grandchildren and all of the Allman Brothers Band, their families and Road Crew survive Butch. The Trucks and Allman Brothers Band families request all of Butch’s friends and fans to please respect our privacy at this time of sadness for our loss. Butch will play on in our hearts forever.
Upon hearing the news, fans and fellow musicians shared their condolences on social media.
Trucks was born as Claude Hudson Trucks in 1947 in Jacksonville, Florida.
He got his start as a drummer in the eighth grade and went on to join his high school band. He also played with local Florida bands like The Vikings, The Echoes and The Bitter Ind, as well as the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and the Jacksonville Symphonette.
Trucks first met Gregg and Duane Allman while playing a gig with Bitter Ind. As Rolling Stone reports, after Duane saw Trucks play, he called and asked Trucks to play a gig with him. From that meeting, Trucks went on to help the Allmans form the Allman Brothers Band in 1969 along with Dickey Betts (guitar), Berry Oakley (bass), and fellow drummer Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson.
Betts once said of Trucks, “When Butch came along, he had that freight train, meat-and-potatoes kind of thing that set Jaimoe up perfectly. He had the power thing we needed.”
The group released their debut album in 1969, which featured the track “Whipping Post.” While the album didn’t reach the top of the charts, “Whipping Post” became a “classic rock staple,” as Rolling Stone put it.
In 1971, the Allman Brothers Band released the live double-album “At Fillmore East,” which went platinum and helped boost the band’s popularity. They continued to release albums ― studio, live and archival recordings ― through last year, despite announcing a retirement in from touring in 2014.
For his accomplishments in music and with the Allman Brothers, Trucks was inducted into the Hall of Fame with the band in 1995.
Trucks went on to form other bands as well, including Les Brers, which comprised fellow Allman Brothers Band members Jaimoe, Marc Quiñones and Oteil Burbridge.
Most recently, Trucks formed Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band, and had tour dates scheduled into the fall. However, he would play what would be his last show on Jan. 6 of this year.
Trucks was also part of the Roots Rock Revival summer music camp, an all-inclusive intensive for young musicians. It provides “an intimate look at the Southern Blues Rock movement, the Allman Brothers Band and the music that forms the foundation of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
He will no doubt be greatly missed.