Ex-Fleetwood Mac member Bob Welch dead

Thu Jun 7, 2012 7:45pm EDT
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Bob Welch, an early member of rock band Fleetwood Mac who enjoyed a successful solo career with hits such as "Ebony Eyes," died on Thursday of an apparent suicide at home in Nashville. He was 66.

Police said Welch's body was found by his wife with a single gunshot wound to the chest, and he had left a suicide note. Welch suffered from health problems, but police did not disclose what those issues were.

"The police are investigating it as a suicide, and there was no evidence of foul play," Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron told Reuters.

Welch was born on August 31, 1945 in Los Angeles to movie producer father Robert L. Welch and actress mother Templeton Fox. He moved to Paris to study French at the Sorbonne, then returned to Los Angeles in the early 1970s.

He was invited to join Fleetwood Mac after the departure of founding members Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer. He played guitar and was a vocalist with the band from 1971 to 1974, working on five of their early albums including 1971's "Future Games," 1972's "Bare Trees" and 1973's "Mystery to Me."

It was after Welch's departure from the band in 1975 that Fleetwood Mac went on to find its largest measure of fame on albums such as 1977's "Rumours" with the addition of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to the band's lineup.

Nicks released a statement, calling Welch's death "devastating."

"He was an amazing guitar player - he was funny, sweet - and he was smart - I'm so very sorry for his family and for the family of Fleetwood Mac - so, so sad," Nicks said.

Welch fell out with his former band mates after suing the group in 1994 for unpaid royalties, which led to his exclusion from the group's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1998.   Continued...