Randy Meisner, co-founder of the Grammy Award-winning rock act the Eagles, died on Wednesday in Los Angeles at the age of 77 after experiencing complications from lung disease, according to a statement posted on the band’s website on Thursday.
“Randy was an integral part of the Eagles and instrumental in the early success of the band,” the band said. “His vocal range was astonishing, as is evident on his signature ballad, ‘Take It to the Limit’.” The statement added that Meisner’s passing was related to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease (COPD) – a lung condition that can restrict airflow and cause breathing problems in sufferers.
The bass player in the Eagles’ original lineup in 1971 alongside Glenn Frey, Don Henley and Bernie Leadon, Meisner contributed to some of the band’s most revered records including ‘Desperado’, ‘One of These Nights’ and, perhaps the band’s most famous release, ‘Hotel California’.
Meisner, whose musical influences emerged from the bluegrass movement, quit the band in 1977 due to creative differences over the Eagles’ sidestep to a more rock-oriented sound, as well as a dispute with vocalist Frey. His departure came two years after another original member, Leadon, also left the group to be replaced by Joe Walsh. Frey died in 2016 at the age of 67.
“The whole thing started to end when we started taking separate limos,” Meisner would later tell Rolling Stone of his decision to part ways with the rest of the band. “One night in Knoxville, I stayed up late and got the flu. We did two or three encores and Glenn wanted another one. I told them I couldn’t do it, and we got into a spat. That was the end.”
Also in 2016, Meisner suffered a personal tragedy when his second wife, Lana Rae Meisner, accidently shot and killed herself in a freak accident while moving a suitcase that contained a rifle.
Meisner had also been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had issues with alcohol, according to court documents made public during a 2015 hearing, in which it was ruled that Meisner receive around-the-clock medical care.
The Eagles’ current lineup, which includes Don Henley and Joe Walsh, are to begin what has been billed as their final tour in September in New York. Meisner was understood not to be involved in the series of concerts, which is due to run until 2025.
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