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Bob Welch, Ex-Fleetwood Mac Guitarist, Dead At 66 Of Apparent Suicide

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Yesterday Bob Welch, former guitarist for Fleetwood Mac, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 66. He was discovered by his wife just after noon at their home in Nashville, with a suicide note left on his desk. Police spokesman Don Aaron said he had health issues recently. Welch was born in Los Angeles in 1945, the son of Hollywood producer Robert Welch and actress Templeton Fox.

Welch was an early member of Fleetwood Mac, coming on board after a string of drama and disasters with their other guitarists, and leaving before Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham even joined the band. He was a part of the band from 1971 through 1974, when he left after the release of their album Heroes Are Hard to Find—though as The Telegraph notes, he went on to have a fruitful career as a solo artist.

At first, in 1975, Welch founded the hard rock band Paris, but after two albums went solo. However, those two albums (which featured backup vocals from Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham) went platinum. He eventually landed in Nashville as a songwriter, with his lyrics being belted out by the likes of Kenny Rogers and The Pointer Sisters.

Even though Welch sued Fleetwood Mac in 1996 (for unpaid royalties), his old bandmates are remembering him with kind words. Stevie Nicks released a statement calling Welch's death "devastating," adding, "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."

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WNYC said today that Welch is "already being remembered for a single song: 'Sentimental Lady,' a tune he wrote while with the band Fleetwood Mac but which he re-recorded with great success in 1977." Listen to it below: