ZZ Top’s bearded bassist Dusty Hill dead at 72, band confirms

The blues-influenced Texas rock band ZZ Top lost one of its founding members this week.

According to reports, 72-year-old bassist Dusty Hill died in his sleep while at his home in Houston.

His bandmates confirmed the tragic news in a statement on Wednesday.

“Providing that monumental bottom”

The iconic band retained the same three members for five decades, though Hill had been unable to perform with the group for the first time ever recently as he dealt with a hip problem.

Guitarist Billy Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard paid tribute to Hill in a Facebook post. A cause of death was not immediately shared.

“We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX,” the band stated. “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.'”

Gibbons and Beard went on to affirm that the band would “forever be connected to that ‘Blues Shuffle in C,'” noting that their “amigo” would be “missed greatly.”

“He meant it, amigo”

Born in Dallas in 1949, Joseph Hill played cello in high school before he picked up the bass and joined ZZ Top. The band had its breakout hit in 1973 with “La Grange,” a tribute to the famous Chicken Ranch brothel. Two years later, the band scored another hit with “Tush.”

Gibbons and Hill would later don trademark long beards, which debuted when the band returned from a hiatus in 1979.

ZZ Top found its greatest commercial success in the 1980s with songs like “Gimme All Your Lovin,” “Sharp Dressed Man,” and “Legs,” a local CBS affiliate reported. In 2004, The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards inducted the band into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The band confirmed that the band will continue to perform with Elwood Francis, a guitar technician who had been filling in for Hill, taking over as a permanent replacement.

Gibbons said it was what the late bassist would have wanted, explaining: “Dusty emphatically grabbed my arm and said, ‘Give Elwood the bottom end and take it to the Top.’ He meant it, amigo. He really did.”

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