Allman Brothers guitarist Dickey Betts dies at age 80

Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers passed away at 80. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

The Allman Brothers Band guitarist and founding member Dickey Betts has died, Fox News Digital can confirm. The musician was 80 years old when he passed away on Thursday, April 18.

"It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that the Betts family announce the peaceful passing of Forrest Richard 'Dickey' Betts," Betts' manager David Spero said in a statement to Fox News Digital.

"The legendary performer, songwriter, bandleader and family patriarch was at his home in Osprey, FL., surrounded by his family. Dickey was larger than life, and his loss will be felt world-wide," the statement continued.


"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," he added.

Spero told Rolling Stone that Betts died from cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The Allman Brothers

The Allman Brothers Band perform in 1981. (Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)

Formed out of Jacksonville, Florida, in 1969, the Allman Brothers Band were a popular rock band with hits like "Ramblin' Man" and "Blue Sky." The original members included brothers Duane and Gregg Allman, as well as Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johnson and Betts. 

Johnson, 79, is the only surviving founder. 

Following the death of Duane in 1971, Betts assumed the role of lead vocalist. The group ultimately disbanded in 1976, only to reunite years later without all the original members. 

Over the years, Betts’ involvement with the group faced challenges, with him missing many of the band's tours in the 1990s.


American rock and blues group The Allman Brothers Band perform onstage, Chicago, Illinois, May 24, 1979. Pictured is guitarist Dickey Betts. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

His final performance with the band came in 2000, the same year he was officially kicked out of the group. The departure was reportedly due to Betts’ alcohol and drug use.

In Sept. 2018, Betts was hospitalized following a freak accident in his Florida home. According to his website, Betts went out into his backyard with the family dog, "slipped and cracked his head, causing bleeding from the brain."

The announcement explained that Betts was to undergo surgery to relieve the swelling in his brain. Still actively performing, Betts had suffered from a "mild stroke" the previous month.