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Glenn Frey, founding member and guitarist of the Eagles, dead at 67

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NEW YORK — Glenn Frey, a founding member of the rock band the Eagles, has died at 67, a publicist for the band has confirmed.

“Glenn fought a courageous battle for the past several weeks but, sadly, succumbed to complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia,” reads a post on the band’s official website.

Frey had been suffering from intestinal issues, which caused the postponement of the band’s inclusion in the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors.

Frey and the other original members of the Eagles — Don Henley, Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon — came together to form singer Linda Ronstadt’s backup band in the early 1970s.

They were all experienced musicians who forged a laid-back, country-tinged sound that the Eagles would eventually make famous.

“We are all in a state of shock, disbelief and profound sorrow,” Henley said in a statement Monday. “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,” Henley added. “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.”

Musicians of all stripes, from Carole King to Huey Lewis to Travis Tritt, posted tributes to Frey on Twitter.

Throughout the early- to mid-1970s, Frey and the band released hit after hit, leading a renaissance of mellow California singer-songwriters with such artists as Ronstadt and Jackson Browne.

Frey and Henley co-wrote many of the band’s biggest songs, including “Best of My Love,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” “One of These Nights” and “Hotel California.” Frey also famously helped Browne finish writing the Eagles’ first hit, “Take It Easy,” contributing the catchy verse, “it’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford / slowing down to take a look at me.”

Frey played guitar and keyboard and took lead vocal duties for the band on tunes like “Take it Easy” and “Tequila Sunrise.”

With “Hotel California” in 1976, the band reached the pinnacle of its success, selling 16 million copies. They released four number one albums consecutively between 1975 and 1979: “One of These Nights,” “Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975,” “Hotel California” and “The Long Run.”

“Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975,” was the first album certified platinum and has sold 29 million copies in the United States, second only to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” according to Rolling Stone.

The Eagles have sold more than 100 million records worldwide and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. But while public reception was warm, the band had a prickly relationship with many critics.

“Another thing that interests me about the Eagles is that I hate them,” wrote rock critic Robert Christgau in 1972, when they first hit it big.

The band succumbed to internal squabbles and broke up in 1980. Frey, Henley and other band members were famously contentious.

With his pop sensibilities and gift for melody, Frey was an ideal songwriting counterbalance to Henley’s seriousness and penchant for weighty social statements.

“He was like a brother to me,” Henley went on to say Monday. “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.”

Frey saw solo success with the 1982 release “No Fun Aloud.” He hit the top 40 with “The Heat Is On,” “You Belong to the City,” “True Love,” and “Soul Searchin.'”

He also tried his hand at acting with a guest spot on “Miami Vice” and a small role in the 1996 film “Jerry Maguire,” among other credits.

The Eagles reunited for 1994’s Hell Freezes Over tour, which spawned an MTV special and a live album. They would continue to tour together over the years.

“Words can neither describe our sorrow, nor our love and respect for all that he has given to us, his family, the music community & millions of fans worldwide,” the band said on its website Monday.


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  • Jim Hendry

    I will miss Glenn deeply, I recall the songs on the Miami Vice tv show where Glenn sang. Will never forget Hotel California. The man was such a artist and shall be missed. God bless RIP Glenn. And god bless his family and band members. Jim Hendry.

  • Brent

    Nooo…way too soon. Don Henley said it would be up to Glenn Frey’s call when the Eagles touring would be up. I’m sure this wasn’t in the plan. One of the best bands ever!

  • Marg

    It is with the up most sadness to hear this news
    We are so sorry
    he was among the top and best performers in the world
    Thoughts and prayers go to the family and his eagles band members

  • Mike Lewis

    one of my favorite songs from that album….to me, he was saying, due to his age, it was now up to the young people to deal with life’s issues as he was “old and in the way” as Jerry Garcia would say. One of my favorite singers, bands, etc. Rest in Peace my music brother.

  • lucinda Thompson

    You were my favorite artist I love your music you were in a class all yourself he’ll be deeply missed by me but remembered on in your music r.i.p my friend

  • Dennis Canfield

    THE EAGLES were (and are still to me) the GREATEST band the 70’s-80’s & 90’s will ever have PRODUCED…NO OTHER BAND WILL TOUCH THE HEARTS AND SOULS OF SO MANY AGAIN…HEAVEN has a “NEW KID IN TOWN” & HE WILL BE GREATLY MISSED by many… Rest in”peaceful easy feeling”

    • Bonnie Gregerson Knight

      No Shawn, It was not an unnecessary comment. Rheumatoid Arthritis or Rheumatoid Disease or Autoimmune Arthritis is a devasting and painful illness that kills more people than you ever thought about. I have a friend one day tell me that, “Arthritis is arthritis.” Well, I am here to tell you, as a person with this unwelcome disease, RA, that it is not “just arthritis. It is a whole host of other bits and pieces that you and others seem to know nothing about, and seem to care nothing about. RA, like so many other autoimmune diseases can and does KILL. RA mimics other forms of arthrits from the pain standpoint, but it is not a disease of the bone. It is a disease of the fluid that surrounds the bones and connective tissue. We all fight daily to have our disease recognized for what it is, rather than having others, even those we love, dismiss us and our physical issues as laziness, as a passing issue that can be solved with a few aspirin. It can not. The medications that can be used to help people with RA get through their daily lives is often dangerous and can and does cause other problems, like those that took the life of this very talented man. When your immune system has to be squelched to keep it from making you an invalid, or put you in a wheel chair for life, or take all the joy out of living, there are side effects of these drugs that have to be recognized. They can be killers and take our lives away from us when we least expect it. However, most of us feel that is it so much better to live shorter than normal lives with relatively little pain while taking dangerous drugs that can often control the symptoms of RA than it is to be forced to live our lives in pain and incapable of actually having a life. LIke a normal life – or as close as we can get. Understand that and half the battle is won for all of us. Because much of our issues involve people who think that having Rheumatoid Disease is nothing more than having a cold. HA! If only that were the case.

    • Bonnie Gregerson Knight

      And by the way, I LOVE the Eagles music – and I always have. A dear friend of mine used to work with them during their concerts. She’s a videographer and went to school with me. The last time she was in my area, on tour with the Eagles, she called and invited me to come see her in a nearby city. Unfortunately, I was not able to get there. I will forever regret not being able to see the Eagles in person, with my dear friend, Carol Dodds. Rest in peace, Glenn. We will all, Eagles and Glenn Fry fans, miss you terribly. I pray you didn’t have to suffer long.

  • Harvard Review

    A legend from an era when musicians actually wrote songs, played instruments, and sang without help from electronics. RIP.

  • Cheryl Culbertson

    So very sad about his passing. I love the Eagles. RIP Glenn. You made a lot of people happy with The Eagles songs.

  • Deb Sikorski LeNoir

    Thanks, Bonnie Gregerson Knight. It’s so nice to come across a non judgemental and understanding person, but I’m sorry for your DX. I’m relieved Fox changed the wording of their story.
    A possible side effect of the biologic medication I am currently taking is intestinal tears. It’s working for me, but Glenn Frey’s journey is now making me think twice.
    Damned if we do, damned if we dont….
    I’m glad you are out of pain, Glenn, but we will miss you terribly.

  • Lori

    RIP Glenn Frye. I was your biggest fan my favorite band of all time you will be missed. My heart goes out to your family and the Eagles family

  • bob franks jr

    RIP Glen Frey Had it not been for you and your endevours, i and so many many more may have never felt the urge to pick up a guitar and make music. It was yours that i chose to learn as a beginner ,its complex simplicity seemed to appeal to everyone.when troubled your music left me with a peacfull easy feeling, i cant beleive your already gone your memory rides on desperado,take it easy old friend,hop on the midnight flyer and say hey to James Dean for me. you have “made” so many wonderfull memories already, for countless ,and you have never even been there yet thanks GF for a lifetime of great songs… bob franks jr

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