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ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill dies at 72

According to reports, Hill passed away in his sleep at his Houston, Texas home.

The group ZZ Top, including Billy Gibbons (from left) Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, accepts its induction award during the 19th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on March 15, 2004 in New York.
The group ZZ Top, including Billy Gibbons (from left) Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, accepts its induction award during the 19th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on March 15, 2004 in New York.
AP

Dusty Hill, bassist and vocalist for ZZ Top for more than 50 years, has died. He was 72.

According to reports, Hill passed away in his sleep at his Houston, Texas home.

Bandmates Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard issued a statement via social media on Wednesday:

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

According to a Facebook post by the band, Hill recently suffered a hip injury, preventing him from touring with the band. At that time, the band said its longtime guitar tech, Elwood Francis, would fill in on bass, slide guitar and harmonica.

Upcoming performances for the trio included a Las Vegas residency at The Venetian Resort scheduled to begin Oct. 8.

Born Joe Michael Hill in Dallas, he, Gibbons and Beard formed ZZ Top in Houston in 1969. The band released its first album, titled “ZZ Top’s First Album,” in 1970. Three years later it scored its breakthrough hit, “La Grange,” which is an ode to the Chicken Ranch, a notorious brothel outside of a Texas town by that name.

The band went on to chart the hits “Tush” in 1975, “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Legs” and “Gimme All Your Lovin’” in 1983, and “Rough Boy” and “Sleeping Bag” in 1985.

In addition to making music, movie/TV fans will remember Hill for his on-screen appearances in “Back to the Future Part III” and “Deadwood.”

ZZ Top was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. In his introductory remarks at the ceremony, the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards said: “These cats know their blues and they know how to dress it up. When I first saw them, I thought, ‘I hope these guys are not on the run, because that disguise is not going to work.’”

That look — with all three members wearing dark sunglasses and the two frontmen sporting long, wispy beards — became so iconic as to be the subject of a New Yorker cartoon and a joke on “The Simpsons.”

Contributing: Associated Press