Former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Bob Welch was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Nashville Thursday, according to police. He was 65. According to reports, he had been struggling with undisclosed health issues in recent years. A suicide note was found at the scene; his wife found him at their home at 12:15 pm.

Welch joined Fleetwood Mac after their classic blues rock era ended, following the departure of guitarist/singer and founder Peter Green and guitarist/singer Jeremy Spencer. The first American to become a member the British band, his arrival in Fleetwood Mac coincided with that of singer/pianist Christine McVie. They would lead the band in a more melodic and less bluesy direction. During Welch’s era, which lasted from 1971 – 1974, their albums included Future Games and Bare Trees. Although Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, Welch was not included.

After Welch left the group, he was replaced by guitarist/singer Lindsey Buckingham and singer Stevie Nicks, with whom Fleetwood Mac would sell millions of records. Welch had some hits on his own as a solo artist, including “Sentimental Lady” and “Ebony Eyes,” both from his 1977 album, French Kiss. His most recent release was 2011’s His Fleetwood Mac Years And Beyond Two, which saw him revisiting Fleetwood Mac songs from his era, as other versions of the band.

— Brian Ives, CBS Local


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