The Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey dies

'He was the spark plug, the man with the plan. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of popular music and a work ethic that wouldn’t quit,' said band member Don Henley in tribute.

Glenn Frey, with The Eagles, perform at Madison Square Garden in New York in 2013. He died on January 18, 2016, in New York aged 67. Evan Agostini / Invision / AP Photo file
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NEW YORK // The Eagles guitarist and founding member Glenn Frey, an American rocker whose band dominated charts throughout the 1970s with hits such as Hotel California, died Monday, the group said. He was 67.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our comrade, Eagles founder, Glenn Frey, in New York City on Monday,” the Grammy Award-winning band wrote on its website.

Frey died of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia, The Eagles said.

“We are all in a state of shock, disbelief and profound sorrow,” Don Henley said in a statement.

“He was the spark plug, the man with the plan. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of popular music and a work ethic that wouldn’t quit.”

The Eagles, fronted by Frey and drummer-vocalist Henley, dominated the American rock charts throughout the 1970s with hits including Take It Easy, One of These Nights and Hotel California — songs that endure as cover-band classics to this day.

The group postponed by a year a December appearance to receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Lifetime Artistic Achievement award due to Frey’s health problems.

The rock group was founded in the early 1970s and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

Its six Grammys range from Record of the Year in 1977 for Hotel California to Best Pop Instrumental Performance in 2008 for I Dreamed There Was No War.

The Eagles pioneered the West Coast sound of laid-back, country-tinged rock that dominated early 70s American pop and saw a changing cast of core members throughout the decades.

It split in the early 1980s, only to reform in 1994.

Frey “was like a brother to me; we were family, and like most families, there was some dysfunction,” Henley said.

“The bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken, even during the 14 years that the Eagles were dissolved.”

The band’s website added that “the Frey family would like to thank everyone who joined Glenn to fight this fight and hoped and prayed for his recovery.”

“Words can neither describe our sorrow, nor our love and respect for all that he has given to us, his family, the music community and millions of fans worldwide.”

Voices from across the music community meanwhile chimed in to wish Frey farewell.

“Glenn Frey, you will be sorely missed. Thank you for all you gave us,” folk-pop singer Sheryl Crow wrote on Twitter.

Fellow Kennedy Center Honors winner Carole King, the 1970s pop singer-songwriter who received the award at the December ceremony The Eagles had to miss, tweeted: “R.I.P. Glenn Frey. Deepest condolences to his family and #Eagles.”

Frey was born in Detroit on November 6, 1948.

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