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Allman Brothers guitarist Dickey Betts dead at 80

Allman Brothers co-founder Dickey Betts has died.

The guitarist died on Thursday (18.04.24) at the age of 80 after battling cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, his manager David Spero has confirmed.

An official statement to Rolling Stone read: ““It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that the Betts family announce the peaceful passing of Forrest Richard ‘Dickey’ Betts (December 12, 1943 – April 18, 2024) at the age of 80 years old.

“The legendary performer, songwriter, bandleader, and family patriarch was at his home in Osprey, Florida, surrounded by his family. Dickey was larger-than-life, and his loss will be felt worldwide. At this difficult time, the family asks for prayers and respect for their privacy in the coming days. More information will be forthcoming at the appropriate time.”

The group also issued a heartfelt statement about Dickey’s death.

It read: “With deep sadness the Allman Brothers Band learned today that founding member Dickey Betts has passed away peacefully in his home in Sarasota, Florida, following a period of declining health.

“He was passionate in life, be it music, songwriting, fishing, hunting, boating, golf, karate or boxing. Dickey was all in on and excelled at anything that caught his attention.”

“Betts joins his brothers, Duane Allman, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks and Gregg Allman, as well as ABB crew, members Twiggs Lyndon, Joe Dan Petty, Red Dog, Kim Payne and Mike Callahan in that old Winnebago in the sky touring the world taking their music to all who will listen.”

“Our condolences to his immediate family Donna, Duane + Lisa, Christy + Frank, Jessica, and Kim. Play on Brother Dickey, you will be forever remembered and deeply missed.”

Dickey began playing with the band in 1969 as joint lead guitarist alongside Duane Allman, then as sole lead after his bandmate died in a car accident in 1971. He wrote the group’s biggest single ‘Ramblin’ Man’, as well as ‘Jessica’, the instrumental best recognised as the theme from ‘Top Gear’.

The group continued to perform live on occasion until 2014 and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

Away from the band, the guitarist recorded a number of solo albums under the names Richard Betts, Dickey Betts + Great Southern and the Dickey Betts Band.

Dickey is survived by fifth wife Donna and his four children, Kimberly, Christy, Jessica and Duane.

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