Dusty Hill, who played bass for rock group ZZ Top for more than 50 years, has died at age 72, his bandmates Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard shared in a social media post on Wednesday. While Hill's cause of death has not been announced, his bandmates' message began by stating that Hill passed away in his sleep at his home in Houston, Texas.
"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,'" the message continued. "We will forever be connected to that 'Blues Shuffle in C.' You will be missed greatly, amigo."
In a post on July 23, Gibbons and Beard told fans that Hill, "their fearless Bass player," was on a "short detour" from a concert in Indiana back to Texas to "address a hip issue." "They await a speedy recovery and have him back pronto," the post read. Hill's hip issue meant that he was going to have to miss some of the band's performances, and ZZ Top shared that their longtime guitar tech, Elwood Francis, would be taking Hill's place. ZZ Top has a performance scheduled for Wednesday night in Simpsonville, South Carolina, though it will likely not take place.
Hill was instantly recognizable to rock fans as one of the two men with long beards and sunglasses in ZZ Top, the other being Gibbons. ZZ Top was founded in Houston, Texas in 1969 by Gibbons, bassist/organist Lanier Greig and drummer Dan Mitchell, both of whom were replaced shortly after. Hill arrived shortly after, just before the trio, now consisting of Hill, Gibbons and Beard, signed a record deal with London Records.
They released their first album, ZZ Top's First Album, in 1971, followed by Rio Grande Mud in 1972. ZZ Top's next album, Tres Hombres, contained the group's hit "La Grange," while the next project, 1975's Fandango!, featured "Tush." They signed with Warner Bros. Records in 1979 and released their album Degüello, and their next album, Eliminator, became both a critical and commercial success. It peaked at No. 9 and included the Top 40 singles "Gimme All Your Loving" and "Legs" as well as "Sharp Dressed Man."
Their last album with Warner Bros. was Recycler, which went to No. 4 on the Billboard chart. ZZ Top's sound was initially rooted in blues and evolved throughout their career, bringing in elements of new wave music while, though Gibbons' signature guitar and Hill and Beard's rhythmic accompaniments were always at the forefront. After leaving Warner Bros., the trio made a return toward their earlier sound and continued to make music, releasing five more albums between 1994 and 2012. ZZ Top has sold an estimated 50 million albums worldwide and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.