Dusty Hill unexpectedly died in his sleep, just after the huge ZZ Top summer tour begins, his bandmates confirmed.
After enduring a hip injury last week, Hill has died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Houston, Texas.
The news was delivered by fellow ZZ Top band members Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard via their band’s official social media platforms.
Their heartfelt statement read:
“We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX. We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the ‘Top’. We will forever be connected to that “Blues Shuffle in C. You will be missed greatly, amigo.”
Before Hill’s passing, ZZ Top announced their bassist was on a “short detour back to Texas” to address a “hip issue” right after playing a small handful of shows. They were scheduled to be playing 54 shows across 2 countries.
“Per Dusty’s request ‘The show must go on!’. (We) await a speedy recovery and have him back pronto,” the post continued.
Elwood Francis stepped in to continue the show in place of Hill. This is apparently one of the first times in 50 years that ZZ Top hasn’t had their original bassist play with them.
Fans who attended recent ZZ Top shows have noted that Hill looked ‘very uncomfortable’ during the band’s sets. Someone commented on Facebook,
“It was obvious that Dusty was very uncomfortable at the Louisville, KY show last weekend. I am glad we got to see him perform,”
While another added, “I noticed that Dusty sat down during their show last weekend in Michigan. Get well soon, Dusty.”
WOW! Dusty Hill. What an icon. @ZZTop ’s bassist forever. So unique. Always a gentleman from the days of us opening for them through the recent days of them opening for us. I don’t know what to say but “Thank you” and “Rest however you damn well choose!” https://t.co/tHfjLy1xbj
— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) July 28, 2021
We thank you for all your artistry Dusty Hill.
While Dusty Hill was around, he remained tight-lipped about his private life, which his lack of interviews reflects.
What was known was that he married his long term partner Charleen McCroy in 2002 and remained so until his passing.
They did not have any children, but Hill has a daughter named Charity who apparently wanted to be a keyboard player:
“My daughter thought she might want to be a keyboard player. So I took her to a blues club – a real one – and showed her a working musician, that this is what they do. She went to law school,” Hill said in a rare interview with the Charlotte Observer in 2015.
Despite not releasing any new music since 2012, ZZ Top has continued playing regular shows over the years, which is expected from selling an estimated 50 million albums worldwide and being inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
Fans and musicians alike have shared their condolences online.
RIP Dusty Hill of ZZ Top.
You’ll be remembered best for pulling pranks on your cousin Hank. pic.twitter.com/Yemn692FyG
— ORANGE CRUSH (@orangecrushart) July 28, 2021