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Butch Trucks Death Ruled Suicide by Handgun

(Image credit: Larry Hulst/Getty Images)

Butch Trucks, the founding drummer of the Allman Brothers Band, shot himself with a pistol in front of his wife, according to police.

The Miami Herald reports that the couple were in their condo in downtown West Palm Beach on January 24 when Trucks, 69, shot himself in the head with the gun as his wife, Melinda, stood nearby.

A 911 call from an unidentified woman was placed at approximately 6 p.m. reporting that her “husband just shot himself” with a pistol. Melinda Trucks was described as “hysterical” and unable to speak in complete sentences. When asked if Trucks was breathing, she confirmed that he was.

Trucks was still breathing when police arrived but died shortly after.

The Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy on Trucks’ body this past Wednesday. The results won’t be known for weeks.

It’s unknown why Trucks shot himself. Police say his suicide is under investigation and foul play is not suspected.

Trucks helped form the Allman Brothers Band in 1969. He is the uncle of guitarist Derek Trucks, who himself had a long tenure with the Allman Brothers Band. The group has not been active since 2014. Trucks is survived by his wife, four children and four grandchildren.

Donations and remembrances in Trucks’ name can be made to The Big House Museum, the official museum of the Allman Brothers Band, located in Macon, Georgia.

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Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player (opens in new tab) magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World (opens in new tab), a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.