American bluesy rock musician Gregg Allman has passed away at 69, according to his website and the magazine "Billboard." The Allman Brothers, including his late sibling Duane, rose to musical fame in the 1970s.
A statement posted on Gregg Allman's website Saturday said he had passed away peacefully at his home in Savannah in the US state of Georgia after struggling "with many health issues" for several years.
His manager, Michael Lehman, said Allman had succumbed to liver cancer, which he had kept quiet "because he wanted to continue to play music until he couldn't."
Allman, who had a liver transplant in 2010, played keyboard and guitar and sang with a rich, growling voice but was known for his gentle manner and long blond hair.
His older brother Duane, a legendary guitar player, died in a motorcycle accident in 1971 at the age of just 24. For decades, Gregg continued to front the band, which re-formed several times, merging blues, jazz, country and rock.
Lehman said Gregg Allman wished to be buried next to his brother at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, southeast of Atlanta, where the band got its start nearly five decades ago in the late sixties. "That's his wishes," said Lehman.
His final album, recorded recently, was scheduled for release in September, Lehman added.
Between 1975 and 1977, Greg Allman was briefly married to the actress and singer Cher. On Saturday, she wrote on Twitter: "IVE TRIED. WORDS ARE IMPOSSIBLE."
"My heart breaks today," wrote country star Keith Urban.
Rolling Stone magazine once credited the Allman Brothers with creating a musical "template for countless subsequent jam bands" that became known as Southern rock.
In an eulogy Saturday, Southern rock and country musician Charlie Daniels wrote via social media: "Gregg Allman had a feeling for blues very few ever have [,] hard to believe that magnificent voice is stilled forever."
Their best-known hits included "Whipping Post," Midnight Rider," "Melissa" and "Ramblin' Man."
Later groups inspired by the Allmans included Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band.
Gregg Allman was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. In 2012, he received a Grammy for lifetime achievement.
ipj/kl (AFP, dpa, AP)