The Eagles co-founder and original bassist Randy Meisner dead at 77 from COPD complications

July 28, 2023
Ben Marquis

Randy Meisner, the original bassist and vocalist and a co-founder of the rock band The Eagles, died on Wednesday at the age of 77, the Daily Caller reported.

According to an announcement from his surviving former bandmates, Meisner passed away in Los Angeles, California due to complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

COPD, which encompasses a range of different respiratory system issues, is believed to affect around 16 million Americans, is primarily caused by smoking, inhalation of air pollutants, or genetic disorders, is often characterized by breathing difficulties or excessive coughing, is incurable but can be managed, often leads to other ailments, and is among the leading causes of death for Americans, according to ABC News.

An "integral part" of the band's success

In a post to The Eagles' official Facebook page, it was announced that "The Eagles are sad to report that founding member, bassist, and vocalist, Randy Meisner, passed away last night (July 26) in Los Angeles at age 77, due to complications from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease (COPD)."

It was noted that Meisner had co-founded the band in 1971 alongside Glenn Frey, who died in 2016, Don Henley, and Bernie Leadon, as well as that he had contributed to the band's first five albums -- Eagles, Desperado, On The Border, One of These Nights, and Hotel California -- and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 along with the rest of the group.

The band said in a statement that "Randy was an integral part of the Eagles and instrumental in the early success of the band. His vocal range was astonishing, as is evident on his signature ballad, 'Take It to the Limit.'"

Was not a fan of fame's spotlight

Fox News reported that while Meisner reunited with The Eagles for the Hall of Fame induction and is praised by his former bandmates for his early contributions, their relationship was not always so pleasant.

In fact, when Meisner left the band in 1977 that he helped form six years earlier, it was reportedly due in part to a physical altercation with other members following his refusal during a concert to perform his hit song "Take It to the Limit," ostensibly due to his failure to hit the requisite high notes while singing as well as health problems like stomach ulcers and a bout of the flu.

His exit was likely also driven by his own admitted aversion to stardom and the spotlight and his dislike of the band's constant touring, which kept him away from his wife and children at home for long stretches while out on the road.

Fox News noted that Meisner continued to write and perform music after leaving The Eagles, whether solo or with other small groups, but never again achieved the same measure of fame as he had reached in the early to mid-1970s.

"I could have tripled my money if I’d stayed," Meisner said in a 1981 interview. "But I was just tired of the touring. It’s a crazy life that you live at twice the normal speed. When it got to the point of sanity or money ... I thought I’d rather have sanity."

Will always be remembered for his part with The Eagles

The outlet also reported that while Meisner had cited family life and "sanity" as reasons for his departure from The Eagles, that wasn't always guaranteed either, as he divorced his first wife in 1981 and then tragically lost his second wife, who he met in the mid-80s and married in 1996, to a firearm accident in their home in 2016.

Regardless of the highs and lows in his personal life, Meisner will likely always be remembered fondly for the foundational role he played in what is arguably one of the best and most popular rock bands to come out of the '70s

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