Dusty Hill, the long-bearded, longtime bassist for beloved Texas blues-rock trio ZZ Top, has died at age 72.
ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard announced Hill's passing with a message on the band's official Facebook page.
"We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX," the note reads. "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."
Hill joined ZZ Top shortly after the group's formation in 1969. Gibbons sang lead on most of the group's songs, while Hill usually handled backing vocals, although he occasionally did take over as lead singer for select tunes, including the band's classic 1975 hit, "Tush."
Dusty co-wrote many of ZZ Top's songs, including "Tush" and other enduring classics including "Cheap Sunglasses," "Gimme All Your Lovin', "Got Me Under Pressure," "Sharp Dressed Man," "Legs," and "Sleeping Bag."
Hill was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of ZZ Top in 2004.
The band's plans for a major 50th anniversary tour in 2020 were sidetracked because of the COVID-19 pandemic. ZZ Top had recently started playing shows again, but the band announced last week that Hill had to return home to Texas "to address a hip issue," and that the group's longtime guitar tech, Elwood Francis, was filling in for him.
These recent shows marked the first time since Hill had joined ZZ Top that they performed with out him.
ZZ Top's most recent album, La Futura, was released in 2012, although Gibbons revealed in recent interviews that the band had been working on material for a new record.