It's official now: 2016 is off to one hell of a rough start. Losing David Bowie last week was harder than most for a lot of music fans, and tributes to the great British singer have been rolling in for more than a week now. But now another rock 'n' roll icon has been lost with the news that Eagles guitarist and founding member Glenn Frey passed away earlier today at age 67.
The news was confirmed in a statement released on the band's website. As the statement explains, Frey "succumbed to complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia."
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For the most part, Frey — raised in Detroit and a man most identified with a peaceful, easy California feeling (even though he spent his later years in New York City, where he passed away on Monday) — couldn't be further removed from Texas. However, he founded the Eagles with Linden native Don Henley back in 1971 after the two had crossed paths while working as session musicians. The band had an infamously frosty relationship until, well, hell froze over and they started periodic (and cynically named) reunion tours, which most recently brought the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers to Dallas early in 2014.
Outside of the Eagles' joint statement, Henley offered up a moving tribute to Frey, which was first published this afternoon by The Hollywood Reporter. With Henley having renewed his own North Texas roots of late, including living in Dallas and recording parts of his Grammy-nominated Cass County in the area with local musicians including Chris Holt, his words hit all the closer to home:
"He was like a brother to me; we were family, and like most families, there was some dysfunction. But, the bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken, even during the 14 years that the Eagles were dissolved. We were two young men who made the pilgrimage to Los Angeles with the same dream: to make our mark in the music industry — and with perseverance, a deep love of music, our alliance with other great musicians and our manager, Irving Azoff, we built something that has lasted longer than anyone could have dreamed. But, Glenn was the one who started it all. He was the spark plug, the man with the plan. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music and a work ethic that wouldn't quit. He was funny, bullheaded, mercurial, generous, deeply talented and driven. He loved his wife and kids more than anything. We are all in a state of shock, disbelief and profound sorrow. We brought our two-year 'History of the Eagles Tour' to a triumphant close at the end of July and now he is gone. I'm not sure I believe in fate, but I know that crossing paths with Glenn Lewis Frey in 1970 changed my life forever, and it eventually had an impact on the lives of millions of other people all over the planet. It will be very strange going forward in a world without him in it. But, I will be grateful, every day, that he was in my life. Rest in peace, my brother. You did what you set out to do, and then some."