Southern rock legend Gregg Allman has died at age 69.
There was a lot of drama packed into this life: a murdered father, an idolized brother and bandmate dead at 24, a tour bus crash, a liver transplant, and perhaps most unenviably, marriage to Cher. Allman died at his home in Savannah, Georgia, acoording to his publicist Ken Weinstein . A statement on the official website said he “passed away peacefully.”
The singer had been ill for some time, and cancelled some of his 2016 tour dates after announcing in August that he was “under his doctor’s care at the Mayo Clinic” due to “serious health issues.” Later that year, he canceled more dates citing a throat injury. This year’s dates were called off in March, and though his camp had been recently downplaying the dire state of his health, it seems that was that.
Gregg was a musician from his teens, and he and older brother Duane played together in a few small bands before forming the massively successful Allman Brothers Band in Florida (some sources say Macon, Georgia), in 1969. Duane died in a motorcycle crash in 1971.
Another disaster in Allman’s life
In 1975, loved-up kids Cher and Allman ran off to Vegas and married just three days after she divorced her Svengali-like husband and partner, Sonny Bono. Alas, Cher requested a divorce just nine days later, although she dismissed the suit a month later. They stayed together long enough to produce a child and a critically-panned duets album under the name “Allman and Woman.” Cher filed for legal separation in 1977.
Allman’s story was being captured on film in the biopic “Midnight Rider” (where the musician was to have been played by William Hurt if you can imagine that), when a fatal accident claimed the life of crew member Sarah Jones, and the 2014 production was shut down indefinitely.
“Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans essential medicine for his soul,” a statement on Allman’s website said. “Playing music lifted him up and kept him going during the toughest of times.”
The singer leaves behind five ex-wives and five children, including guitarist Elijah Blue Allman, his son with Cher.
Main Photo Allman in 2012 credit: REX/Shutterstock