Claude Hudson "Butch" Trucks, a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, has died at the age of 69.
Trucks, who played drums alongside Jai Johanny "Jaimoe"Johanson throughout the Allmans history, was part of the original lineup that formed during 1969, died on Tuesday night (January 24) at home in West Palm Beach, Fla.
A statement from the band says that, "The Trucks and Allman Brothers Band families request all of Butch’s friends and fans to please respect our privacy at this time of sadness for our loss. Butch will play on in our hearts forever."
Gregg Allman released his own personal statement regarding Trucks's death, and it reads as follows: "I'm heartbroken. I've lost another brother and it hurts beyond words. Butch and I knew each other since we were teenagers and we were bandmates for over 45 years. He was a great man and a great drummer and I'm going to miss him forever. Rest In Peace Brother Butch."
Trucks came to the group after playing in bands such as the Vikings, the Echoes and the Bitter Ind, along with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and the Jacksonville Symphonette and ensembles at Florida State University, where he studied. After the Allmans' retired for good (supposedly) in 2014, Trucks formed Les Brers to play the band's music.
Trucks told us last year that he credits his career to the late Duane Allman:
"If I hadn't met Duane Allman I would've been a math teacher, 'cause that's what I was about to do. I was about to head back to school and get a degree in math...That's kind of where I was headed when Duane knocked on my door with Jaimoe and then the Allman Brothers happened...I mean, teaching school's OK, but it's not quite as much fun as what I've had the last 45 years, and it was Duane that got me to open up and do that."
Trucks is the third member of the original Allmans to pass away: Duane Allman died after a 1971 motorcycle crash at the age of 24; and bassist Berry Oakley was killed in a similar accident at the same age less than 13 months later.
Trucks -- whose nephew Derek Trucks played with the Allmans for many years -- was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the band in 1994.
Trucks is survived by his wife, four children and four grandchildren. Donations and remembrances in Trucks' name may be made to The Big House Museum in Macon, Georgia.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.