The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the bassist from ZZ Top, Dusty Hill, had died. He was 72.
His bandmates Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard said that Hill passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, where the Texas blues trio formed.
Cause of death remains unclear
The surviving members did not say how Hill died, but the Dallas native had recently been to Texas “to address a hip issue,” an earlier statement from the band said, according to the AP.
“We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, Texas,” Gibbons and Beard said, according to the Houston City Book.
They went on: “We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature, and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the ‘Top’. We will forever be connected to that ‘Blues Shuffle in C.’ You will be missed greatly, amigo.”
According to Rolling Stone, the bassist, whose real name was Joe Michael Hill, had been with ZZ Top since the group launched their recording career in the 1970s. They would retain the same core members until Hill’s death, with Gibbons on guitar and Beard on drums.
With their sleazy swagger, dark sunglasses, and distinctive long beards, ZZ Top — named in part after blues singer Z.Z. Hill — would become as well known for their look as their Texas sound.
Tributes pour in from fellow stars
The group had their first taste of success with the 1973 hit “La Grange,” and 1975’s “Tush,” Variety reported. They scored some of their biggest hits in the 1980s, long after blues rock’s heyday, with a more synthesizer-oriented sound in songs like “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Gimme All Your Lovin,” and “Legs.”
According to the AP, their 1976 Worldwide Texas Tour was one of the most commercially successful of the decade.
The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 by Keith Richards.
“We are devastated to hear about Dusty’s passing. We were so blessed to share the stage with the great Dusty and ZZ Top many times, and if that wasn’t rock & roll heaven, I don’t know what is. The show we did together just last week would be his last. So heartbreaking,” Fogerty said.