Glenn Frey, the prolific guitarist, singer, songwriter and founding member of the Eagles, died on Monday at age 67, the American rock band known for “Hotel California” and dozens of other hits said on its website.
Frey died in New York City of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia, the band said.
The Eagles, whose album, “Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975,” is the second-best-selling record of all time in the United States, helped create the freewheeling soundtrack of 1970s America and remain ubiquitous on rock radio nearly half a century later.
Their blend of rock with country music influences fueled their success with hit songs such as “Desperado,” “Already Gone” and “Take It to the Limit.”
Frey collaborated with drummer Don Henley to co-write many of the band’s biggest hits. While Henley most often sang lead vocals for the band, Frey played guitar and piano, was key to the band’s harmony as a back-up vocalist, and at times sang lead.
His performances on “Take It Easy” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling” on the band’s debut album in 1972 helped rocket the Eagles to fame, and he later sang lead on hits “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Already Gone.”
Frey died a little more than a week after another rock great, David Bowie, died at age 69 in New York, apparently of liver cancer.
Detroit-born Frey and Henley co-founded the Eagles in 1971 in Los Angeles after playing backup for rock singer Linda Ronstadt.
Henley in a statement praised Frey as the “one who started it all” for the Eagles.
“He was the spark plug, the man with the plan,” Henley said. “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.”
The band’s original members also included Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. Several other musicians, including Joe Walsh, joined in the 1970s.