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Remembering Gregg Allman: 6 things you probably didn't know about the late rock singer

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Music legend Gregg Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped launch the Allman Brothers Band to stardom, died at the age of 69 on Saturday after battling cancer.

The country singer will likely be remembered for spawning and defining the Southern rock genre of the 1970s--laying the foundation for future groups like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band to surface. He and his brother, Duane, were founding members of the Allman Brothers Band.


"A survivor of tragedy"

The blue-eyed, blond-haired singer was not stranger to tragedy, having been raised by a single mother after his father was shot to death by a man he met in a bar. In his 2012 memoir, "My Cross to Bear," Allman described how his brother and fellow band guitarist Duane was a central figure in his life following his father's death. 

WATCH | "Ramblin Man" may be considered the band's most popular song.

Just as the Allman Brothers Band launched into stardom following their seminal live album "At Fillmore East" in 1971, Duane died in a motorcycle accident at the age of 24. Another bandmate, bassist Berry Oakley, also died in a motorcycle accident the following year.

In a 1998 interview with The Associated Press, Allman said he and guitarist Dickey Betts mourned the loss of Duane in their music. 

"We used to write songs in a graveyard in Macon," Allman said. "One thing everybody thought was Duane would come back to haunt us if we did not keep going. He had the most passion for music of any man I've ever seen."


Marriage to Cher

In 1975, Cher and Allman married just three days after she divorced her husband and singing partner, Sonny Bono. The marriage was rocky from the start--Cher filed for divorce just nine days after their Las Vegas wedding, but dismissed the suit a month later.

The two released a duets album under the name, "Allman and Woman." 

Before filing for legal separation again in 1977, the two had one child together, Elijah Blue.

Allman later admitted in a Viva magazine interview that he regretted marrying Cher. He also said they probably could have fallen in love if it hadn't been for his drug abuse.

Breakups and reunions

In the 1980s, the Allman Brothers Band split up several times, only to reconvene many times over the years. Nearly 20 years later, guitarist Betts would be formally ousted from the band via fax for alleged substance abuse and poor performance. 

Gregg Allman Reminisces On His Allman Brothers Days - CONAN on TBS

WATCH | Gregg Allman reminisces on his rock n' roll days on Conan.  

His own battles with addiction 

According to his memoir, Allman spent years overindulging in women (he was married six times), drugs and alcohol. He admitted, though, he felt "brand new" at the age of 50 after dedicating himself to sobriety. 

"I never believed in God until this," he said in an interview with The Associated Press in 1998. "I asked him to bring me out of this or let me die before all the innings have been played. Now I have started taking on some spiritualism."

Despite his newfound spirit, Allman's health would take a turn for the worst. He contracted hepatitis C, leading to a severely damaged liver.

He underwent a liver transplant in 2010. 

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Before their demise, the reunited band released new music and discovered a new audience. In 1995, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The following year, they won a Grammy for the best rock instrumental performance for "Jessica."

The band was honored with a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2012.

The Allman Brothers Band - Jessica - 4/20/1979 - Capitol Theatre (Official)

WATCH | The Allman Brothers Band play "Jessica" at the Capitol Theatre in 1979.

"Southern Blood"

Before his death, Allman had been working on a yet-to-be-released solo album entitled "Southern Blood," CNN reported. A release date has yet to be announced.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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