The band posted a statement on its Facebook page, listing “complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia” as the causes of death. Frey had disclosed the problems back in November, when the band were forced to pull out of attending the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony because he required major surgery
Born on Nov. 6, 1948, Frey began playing in bands in his native Detroit in the mid-’60s. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Los Angeles in the late-’60s, when he met J.D. Souther and Jackson Browne. When Souther’s then-girlfriend, Linda Ronstadt, needed a new backup band, she hired Frey, drummer Don Henley, bassist Randy Meisner and guitarist Bernie Leadon. The chemistry was so good that, after their 1971 tour, the four of them broke out from under Ronstadt and called themselves the Eagles.
The band were successful from the get-go. Their first single, the Frey-Browne co-write “Take It Easy,” reached No. 12 and set the template for the band mix of country-rock with pitch-perfect harmonies. Frey’s smooth vocals contrasted perfectly with Henley’s rasp, giving them the same blend that made the Beatles so successful.