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Butch Trucks, Allman Brothers Band Drummer, Dies at 69

Variety logo Variety 1/25/2017 Will Thorne
© Provided by Variety

Butch Trucks, one of the founding members of The Allman Brothers Band, was found dead in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Tuesday night. He was 69.

A statement from one of Trucks’ representatives confirmed the musician’s passing and that his cause of death is currently unknown.

“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,” the statement said. “Butch will play on in our hearts forever.”

Gregg Allman, a fellow co-founder of The Allman Brothers Band, said in statement that he was “heartbroken” at the loss of “another brother.” His biological brother Duane Allman died in a motorcycle crash 1971.

“Butch and I knew each other since we were teenagers and we were bandmates for over 45 years. He was a great man and a great drummer and I’m going to miss him forever. Rest In Peace Brother Butch,” Allman said.

Trucks, whose birth name is Claude Hudson, was born in Jacksonville, Fla. and joined one of his first local bands there, The Vikings, when he was 17. Later he was part of a band called The 31st of February, which also counted Duane and Gregg Allman among its members.

The band split in 1968, paving the way for The Allman Brothers Band to be formed in 1969. The original band members were Trucks on drums, the two Allman brothers on guitar and vocals, Dickey Betts on guitar, Barry Oakley on bass, and Jai Johanny Johanson also on drums. The group went on to help define the Southern rock sound, blending elements of blues, rock, country, and jazz.

Trucks served as a conventional drummer for the band while Johanson, who was more influenced by jazz, provided flourishes to meld with Trucks’ sound. Betts once described Trucks’ drumming style as like “meat-and-potatoes,” while also likening his powerful drumming technique to a “freight train.”

Trucks is survived by his wife, four children and four grandchildren.

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