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Butch Trucks, a founding member of the pioneering Southern rock Allman Brothers Band, whom Rolling Stone listed in its rating of the top 100 rock drummers of all time, has died at age 69, the band confirmed Wednesday.
Trucks, who was born Claude Hobson Trucks in 1947, died Tuesday night in West Palm Beach, Florida. No cause of death was reported.
Trucks hosted the legendary five-hour meeting of the musicians who would form the Allman Brothers Band at his home in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1969, along with Duane and Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley and fellow drummer Jai Johanny Johanson, better known as "Jaimoe."
Duane Allman and Oakley both died in motorcycle accidents in 1971 and 1972, respectively, but the band continued, and it was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 — its first year of eligibility. Trucks was a member the entire time, until the band broke up in 2014.
"I'm heartbroken," Gregg Allman said Wednesday on Facebook. "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."
The Allman Brothers Band was one of the first major rock acts to feature two drummers. It threw a one-two punch of the propulsive rock beats of Trucks and the intricate soul- and jazz-inspired riffs of Johanson on rock classics like "Whipping Post" and "Ramblin' Man" — a sound that Rolling Stone described last year as "a syncopated beat-logic all their own."
"When Butch came along, he had that freight train, meat-and-potatoes kind of thing that set Jaimoe up perfectly," Betts said in a 2011 interview. "He had the power thing we needed."
Guitarist Warren Haynes, who joined the Allman Brothers Band in 1989, called Trucks on Wednesday "one of a kind — as a drummer and as a human being."
"He put 110% of his self into every song he played," Haynes wrote on Facebook. "He was the Lou Gehrig of rock drummers. I've seen him play many times when he was injured or sick and most people would have bailed or phoned it in. Not Butch. He would play with the utmost intensity till he was about to fall over with no regrets."
Trucks was the uncle of Duane Trucks, the drummer for Widespread Panic, and of Derek Trucks, leader of The Tedeschi Trucks Band who was also a longtime member of the Allmans.
The band said Trucks is survived by his wife, four children, four grandchildren "and all of the Allman Brothers Band, their families and Road Crew."