The last month has been nothing but somber so far in the rock and roll community, after the tragic deaths of both Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister and then the iconic David Bowie after their individual battles with cancer left millions of music fans shocked and devastated. Compounding that sadness this morning is a statement released by perhaps the American rock band, Eagles, on the passing of founding guitarist Glenn Frey.
“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our comrade, Eagles founder, Glenn Frey, in New York City on Monday, January 18th, 2016. Glenn fought a courageous battle for the past several weeks but, sadly, succumbed to complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia.
The Frey family would like to thank everyone who joined Glenn to fight this fight and hoped and prayed for his recovery,” the statement continued. “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 message, signed by Frey’s family and his fellow Eagles bandmates and management, comes just a month after the band were forced to postpone their appearance to receive the Kennedy Centre Honors, an award recognising significant contributions to American culture and performing arts, by a year due to Frey’s declining health.
At the time they released a statement explaining Frey had suffered ‘a recurrence of previous intestinal issues which will require major surgery and a lengthy recovery period’. Not much more information is available at this time but it appears Frey’s intestinal surgery was too much for the 67-year-old to recover from, finally succumbing in New York City today.
Frey has helped sell more than 150 million records as a member of the Eagles, creating some of the most iconic and seminal rock and roll songs that defined the 70s like Hotel California and Desperado as well as being a member of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, inducted in 2013 with the rest of the group. Not just a member of the Eagles though, Frey, like many of his fellow bandmates, embarked on a solo career after the group initially imploded in 1980 and released five of his own albums between 1982 and 2012, his debut and sophomore efforts certified Gold in the United States.
Perhaps the most touching tribute to Frey thus far though has come from fellow Eagles founder Don Henley, who said in a separate statement:
“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 encyclopaedic knowledge of popular music and a work ethic that wouldn’t quit. He was funny, bullheaded, mercurial, generous, deeply talented and driven. He loved is 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.”
The world will be just a little less rock and roll without him.