Butch Trucks Cause of Death: Drummer Shot Himself, Police Say

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Butch Trucks with his wife, Melinda. (Getty)

Drummer Butch Trucks, a founding member of the Allman Brothers, fatally shot himself Tuesday in front of his wife, the Daily Mail reports.

Trucks, 69, died at his home in West Palm Beach, Florida, according to police reports obtained by the Daily Mail. His death was announced Wednesday by family and friends, but his cause of death was not immediately made public.

In a statement, the West Palm Beach Police Department said police responded to Trucks’ Flagler Drive home about 6 p.m. Tuesday and found him dead. Police said foul play is not suspected and the case is still under investigation. They have declined to comment on the report by the Daily Mail.

According to the Daily Mail, Trucks’ wife, Melinda, called 911 to report her husband had “just shot himself” in the head with a pistol. The newspaper obtained a transcript of the call, and said Melinda Trucks was too distraught to speak in full sentences. The dispatcher told responding officers that Melinda Trucks had witnessed the shooting, and was at the scene with her son, musician Vaylor Trucks.

Butch Trucks, whose real name is Claude Trucks, was still breathing when officers arrived, but died shortly after at the scene, police said in the report.

Butch Trucks in 2012 while accepting an award at the Grammys. (Getty)

Butch Trucks in 2012 while accepting an award at the Grammys. (Getty)

Trucks is survived by his wife of more than 40 years, Melinda, and their two children, Vaylor and Melody, along with two children from a previous marriage and four grandchildren.

“The Trucks and Allman Brothers Band families request all of Butch’s friends and fans to please respect our privacy at this time of sadness for our loss. Butch will play on in our hearts forever,” booking agent Page Stallings said in a statement.

An autopsy was performed Wednesday, but officials have not yet released the results.

Trucks had been dealing with financial issues, according to local and federal court records.

He sold his $2 million home in Palm Beach in 2011 to pay off a $800,000 mortgage a bank was trying to foreclose on. In 2014, he bought the condo where he lived until his death on Tuesday.

Federal court records show the IRS filed two liens against the condo last year to force Trucks to pay additional taxes for 2013 and 2014, totaling more than $540,000.



Trucks, considered one of the 100 greatest drummers of all time by Rolling Stone, battled addictions to drugs and alcohol for most of his life.

In 2011, he talked to the Palm Beach Post about getting sober in 2001.

“You have to make the commitment deep down inside that this is enough,” he told the newspaper. “That you care more for the people around you than the booze. My message is ‘life can get better.'”