The founding drummer of The Allman Brothers Band, Claude “Butch” Trucks has died at the age of 69. The cause of Trucks’ death is currently unknown, and in a statement published by Variety, the families of both Trucks and his bandmates in the Allman Brothers, ”request all of Butch’s friends and fans to please respect our privacy at this time of sadness for our loss.”
Trucks began playing drums in the ‘60s, as a member of The Vikings and then a band called The 31st Of February. That band would feature Duane and Gregg Allman, and after that band ended, The Allman Brothers came into being. Trucks would play in the band throughout its on-again, off-again history and, alongside fellow drummer Jai Johanny Johanson, would provide the backbone for the band’s southern rock attack throughout its storied career.
Thanks to hits like “Ramblin’ Man,” The Allman Brothers Band has remained a signpost in the world of southern rock since its debut in the late ‘60s. For his part, Trucks helped establish the kind of bare-bones approach that would go on to typify this kind of music as it was still in its infancy. As Gregg Allman said in a statement, “I’ve lost another brother and it hurts beyond words.”
UPDATE: Trucks death has since been ruled a suicide. As the Miami Herald reports, Trucks committed suicide with his wife standing nearby in their West Palm Beach home.