Gregg Allman, a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, the incendiary group that inspired and gave shape to both the Southern rock and jam-band movements, died on Saturday at his home in Savannah, Ga. He was 69.
His death was announced in a statement on Mr. Allman’s official website. No cause was given, but the statement said he had “struggled with many health issues over the past several years.”
The band’s lead singer and keyboardist, Mr. Allman was one of the principal architects of a taut, improvisatory fusion of blues, jazz, country and rock that — streamlined by inheritors like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band — became the Southern rock of the 1970s.
The group, which originally featured Mr. Allman’s older brother, Duane, on lead and slide guitar, was also a precursor to a generation of popular jam bands, like Widespread Panic and Phish, whose music features labyrinthine instrumental exchanges.
Mr. Allman’s percussive Hammond B-3 organ playing helped anchor the Allman Brothers’ rhythm section and provided a chuffing counterpoint to the often heated musical interplay between his brother and the band’s other lead guitarist, Dickey Betts.
Gregg Allman’s vocals, by turns squalling and brooding, took their cue from the anguished emoting of down-home blues singers like Elmore James, as well as from more sophisticated ones like Bobby Bland. Foremost among Mr. Allman’s influences as a vocalist, though, was the Mississippi-born blues and soul singer and guitarist known as Little Milton.
“‘Little Milton’ Campbell had the strongest set of pipes I ever heard on a human being,” Mr. Allman wrote in his autobiography, “My Cross to Bear,” written with Alan Light (2012). “That man inspired me all my life to get my voice crisper, get my diaphragm harder, use less air and just spit it out. He taught me to be absolutely sure of every note you hit, and to hit it solid.”
The band’s main songwriter early on, Mr. Allman contributed expansive, emotionally fraught compositions like “Dreams” and “Whipping Post” to the Allman Brothers repertoire. Both songs became staples of their epic live shows; a cathartic 22-minute version of “Whipping Post” was a highlight of their acclaimed 1971 live album, “At Fillmore East.”
More concise originals like “Midnight Rider” and “Melissa,” as well as Mr. Allman’s renditions of blues classics like “Statesboro Blues” and “Done Somebody Wrong,” revealed his singular affinity with the black Southern musical vernacular.
Mr. Allman also enjoyed an enduring, if intermittent, career as a solo artist, both while a member of the Allman Brothers Band and during periods when he was away from the group. His recordings under his own name were typically more subdued, more akin to soulful singer-songwriter rock, than his molten performances with the Allmans.
A remake of “Midnight Rider” from “Laid Back,” his first solo album, reached the pop Top 20 in 1973. “Laid Back” also featured a cover of “These Days,” an elegiac ballad written by Jackson Browne, who on occasion roomed with Mr. Allman while he was living in Los Angeles in the 1960s.
“Low Country Blues,” Mr. Allman’s sixth studio recording as a solo artist, was nominated for a Grammy Award for best blues album in 2011. Produced by T Bone Burnett, it consisted largely of interpretations of blues standards made popular by performers like Junior Wells and Muddy Waters.
His final studio album, “Southern Blood,” produced by Don Was, is scheduled to be released in 2017. All his 2017 tour dates, including 10 nights at City Winery in New York in July, were canceled in mid-March.
In 1977, Mr. Allman and the singer Cher, to whom he was married at the time, released the album “Two the Hard Way.” (They were billed on the cover as Allman and Woman.) The project was poorly received by critics and the record-buying public alike.
Mr. Allman struggled for years with alcohol, heroin and other drugs, and entered treatment for them numerous times, before embarking on a path of recovery in the mid-1990s. He was later found to have hepatitis C andreceived a liver transplant in 2010.
As a member of the Allman Brothers Band, Mr. Allman was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. He was admitted to the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2006 and, with the Allman Brothers, received aGrammy Award for lifetime achievement in 2012.