Stuart Swanlund, longtime member of the Marshall Tucker Band, died Saturday (Aug. 4) of natural causes. The slide guitar specialist joined the band in 1985, touring and recording with the group until unspecified health problems forced him off the road recently.

“Even with those issues, Stuart’s enthusiasm onstage never wavered,” declared founding Marshall Tucker Band member Doug Gray. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Stuart’s family and those who knew him.  We have lost a great friend.”

According to the group’s press release, as a young child Swanlund actually lived right across the street from Gray, and could hear the elder musician (and unknowingly, future bandmate) rehearsing with his band. When not performing with the Tucker band, the guitarist would play with Chicago-area rockers the Tone Generators.

Swanlund, who was 54 years old, is survived by his lifelong partner Stacey Schmaren, his son William, three grandchildren and his sister Suzanne. On his Facebook page, Gray asks fans to “take a moment to remember Stuart’s one and only great laugh and certainly his everlasting smile,” before instructing Swanlund to “testify with that slide guitar in that band you will be joining!”

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