ZZ TOP's longtime bassist Dusty Hill has died. He was 72 years old.
The band's Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard said in a statement: "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."
ZZ TOP played without Hill last Friday night (July 23) at the Village Commons in New Lenox, Illinois after he was forced to return to Texas to address a hip issue. Filling in for him at the gig was longtime guitar tech Elwood Francis.
On July 21, ZZ TOP canceled its concert in Evansville, Indiana because of a "health issue within the band," according to local news outlet Evansville Courier & Press.
ZZ TOP kicked off its latest tour less than two weeks ago in Manchester, Iowa. The trek, dubbed "A Celebration With ZZ Top", is scheduled to continue in August with dates in the South, Midwest and Far West. A residency at The Venetian Theater in Las Vegas that had been postponed from last year is now set to start in early October.
When ZZ TOP announced the tour, Hill — who joined the band a year after its formation in 1969 — commented: "They shut the door right after our 50th-anniversary tour and now it's back open. We're excited to get out there and play our music for everybody."
Gibbons recently told Classic Rock magazine that he and his bandmates were working on ZZ TOP's 16th album after he had completed work on his latest solo LP, "Hardware". "The last laugh has yet to be heard," he said. "While we were working on 'Hardware', I was sending the roughs that might not have been fitting for that but were certainly fitting for the ZZ thing. I get to tiptoe out of 'Hardware' and back into ZZ, which is underway now."