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Don Henley on Glenn Frey’s Death: ‘He Was Like a Brother to Me’

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Eagles maestro Don Henley has commented on the death of his longtime musical partner Glenn Frey, calling him “the one who started it all” for the legendary group.

Frey passed away in New York City on Monday (Jan. 18), weeks after undergoing surgery that forced the group to postpone their Kennedy Center Honors. The singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist had struggled with intestinal issues over the years, finally succumbing to complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia at the age of 67.

“He was like a brother to me; we were family, and like most families, there was some dysfunction,” Henley writes on Facebook. “But, the bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken, even during the 14 years that the Eagles were dissolved. We were two young men who made the pilgrimage to Los Angeles with the same dream: to make our mark in the music industry — and with perseverance, a deep love of music, our alliance with other great musicians and our manager, Irving Azoff, we built something that has lasted longer than anyone could have dreamed.”

“But, Glenn was the one who started it all,” he adds. “He was the spark plug, the man with the plan. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music and a work ethic that wouldn’t quit. He was funny, bullheaded, mercurial, generous, deeply talented and driven. He loved his wife and kids more than anything. We are all in a state of shock, disbelief and profound sorrow. We brought our two-year History of the Eagles Tour to a triumphant close at the end of July and now he is gone.”

Tributes to Frey’s enormous influence have come pouring in from across the musical spectrum, with Keith Urban covering “Take It Easy” and Lady Antebellum singer Charles Kelley praising him as “one of the greatest songwriters ever.” Henley looks back on their complicated, but life-changing partnership with great affection.

“I’m not sure I believe in fate, but I know that crossing paths with Glenn Lewis Frey in 1970 changed my life forever, and it eventually had an impact on the lives of millions of other people all over the planet,” he writes. “It will be very strange going forward in a world without him in it. But, I will be grateful, every day, that he was in my life. Rest in peace, my brother. You did what you set out to do, and then some.”

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