Gregg Allman, who with brother Duane founded the iconic Allman Brothers Band, died Saturday. The guitarist, singer, and songwriter was 69 years old.
The hits the Allmans turned out created a signature sound that many have imitated but few have come close to equaling. With classics like "Melissa," "Whipping Post," and "Midnight Rider," the Allmans totally defined southern rock as a separate genre.
A statement on Allman's website announced his death, stating he'd "passed away peacefully" at his Savannah, Georgia residence. "Gregg struggled with many health issues over the past several years," the statement read, most likely referencing his battle with hepatitis C, which resulted in a liver transplant in 2010.
"During that time," the death announcement continued, "Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans, essential medicine for his soul."
Allman's battles with substance abuse and his tabloid-ready life—his brief marriage to Cher in the mid-1970s was just one example—sometimes threatened to overshadow his music. Personal tragedies did as well, such as his brother Duane's death in a motorcycle accident in 1971, just as their band was really taking off.
Still, the group continued touring into the 2000s and Allman kept going as well, health issues be damned. In his Maxim Icon interview in 2010, he told us his proudest achievement was "Quitting liquor, heroin, cigarettes, and cocaine all in one day. I had been to 14 rehabs, but this one was my rehab: I hired a male nurse and did it at my house. I had this guy remove all the cigarettes and all the cane."
Allman had six marriages and is survived by five children, four of them working musicians in their own right.
Remember Gregg Allman's massive gifts to rock and roll with five classic videos below.