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Southern rocker Gregg Allman dies at age 69

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NEW YORK TIMES FILE PHOTO

Born in Nashville in 1947, Gregg Allman died Saturday in Savannah, Ga.

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Music legend Gregg Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel the Allman Brothers Band to superstardom and spawn Southern rock, died Saturday, a publicist said. He was 69.

Allman died at his home in Savannah, Ga., publicist Ke n Weinstein said. A statement on the singer’s website says he “passed away peacefully.”

Allman had canceled some 2016 tour dates, announcing Au g. 5 he was “under his d octor’s care at the Mayo Clinic” due to “serious health issues.” Later that year, he canceled m ore dates, citing a throat injury. And

in March 2017, he

canceled performances for the

rest of the year.

Born in

Nashville, the

rock star known for his long blond hair was raised in Florida by a single mother after his father was shot to death. Allman idolized his older brother, Duane, eventually joining a series of bands with him. Together they formed the nucleus of The Allman Brothers Band.

The original band featured extended jams, tight guitar harmonies by Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, rhythms from a pair of drummers and the smoky, blues-inflected voice of Gregg Allman. Songs such as “Whipping Post,” “Ramblin’ Man” and “Midnight Rider,” helped define what came to be known as Southern rock .

In his 2012 memoir, “My Cross to Bear,” Allman described how Duane was a central figure in his life in the years after their father was murdered by a man he met in a bar. Although Gregg was the first to pick up a guitar, it was Duane who excelled at it. So Gregg later switched to the organ.

They failed to crack success until they formed The Allman Brothers Band in 1969.

Their self-titled debut album came out in 1969, but it was their seminal live album “At Fillmore East” in 1971 that catapulted the band to stardom.

Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident in October 1971, just months after recording the Fillmore shows. Another motorcycle accident the next year claimed the life of the band’s bassist, Berry Oakley.

In 1975, Cher and Allman married three days after she divorced her husband , Sonny Bono. Their marriage was tumultuous from the start; Cher requested a divorce just nine days after their wedding, although she dismissed the suit a month later. They had one child together, Elijah Blue, and Cher filed for legal separation in 1977.

The Allman Brothers Band likewise split up in the 1980s but re-formed several times over the years.

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