Influential Southern Rock Guitarist And Founding Member Has Passed Away

Back in 1969 Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Duane Allman and his younger brother formed the southern rock group The Allman Brothers Band. Now, the band has confirmed the sad news of Betts’ death at the age of 80 years old.

In a statement, The Allman Brothers Band didn’t share a specific cause of death but shared that his death was “following a period of declining health.” However, PEOPLE reports that Betts’ death was due to cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This news comes via Betts’ manager, David Spero.

In the statement, the band shared, “Dickey wrote quintessential Brothers songs including ‘Blue Sky,’ ‘Rambling Man,’ ‘Jessica,’ ‘In Memory of Elizabeth Reed’ and many others. His extraordinary guitar playing alongside guitarist Duane Allman created a unique dual guitar signature sound that became the signature sound of the genre known as Southern Rock.”

The band continued, “He was passionate in life, be it music, songwriting, fishing, hunting, boating, golf, karate or boxing. Dickey was all in on and excelled at anything that caught his attention.”

The news of Betts’ death was also announced on his official Instagram page. Alongside a photo of Betts, his family shared, “It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that the Betts family announce the peaceful passing of Forrest Richard ‘Dickey’ Betts (December 12, 1943 – April 18, 2024) at the age of 80 years old. The legendary performer, songwriter, bandleader and family patriarch passed away earlier today at his home in Osprey, FL., surrounded by his family.”

The post continued by sharing, “Dickey was larger than life, and his loss will be felt world-wide. At this difficult time, the family asks for prayers and respect for their privacy in the coming days. More information will be forthcoming at the appropriate time.”

In the 1970s, The Allman Brothers Band went on hiatus, and Betts focused on his solo career. The band reunited in 1979 but broke up again 3 years later. In 1989, the band reformed with two new members, but in 2000, Betts was officially kicked out of the band due to a conflict about drug and alcohol use.

In 1995, Betts was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with the rest of the Allman Brothers Band.

In 1994, the band made an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, which you can watch below.