Randy Meisner, a founding member of the band The Eagles and known for the iconic song “Hotel California,” died Wednesday night in Los Angeles of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the band said in a news release. He was 77 years old.
The bassist had endured numerous heartbreaks in recent years and a personal tragedy in 2016, when his wife, Lana Rae Meisner, accidentally shot herself to death.
Meanwhile, Randy Meisner had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had serious alcohol problems, according to court records and comments made during a 2015 hearing in which a judge ordered Meisner to receive ongoing medical care.
Called “the sweetest man in the world of music” by his former bandmate Don Felder, the baby-faced Meisner joined Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Bernie Leadon in the early 1970s to form the band quintessential Los Angeles and one of the most popular groups in history.
“Randy was an integral part of the Eagles and instrumental in the band’s early success,” the Eagles’ statement said.
“Her vocal range was amazing, as is evident in his signature ballad, ‘Take It to the Limit,’” the writing adds.
At the moment, no details of his funeral were offered.
In the summer of 1977, during the “Hotel California” tour and at a time when he was going through a difficult personal situation (he was separating from his first wife), Meisner had a heated argument with Frey backstage in Knoxville, Tennessee and left. from the band soon after.
His replacement, Timothy B. Schmit, remained with the group for the next several decades, along with Henley, Walsh, and Frey, who died in 2016.
As a solo artist, Meisner never came close to the success he had with The Eagles, but he had hits with “Hearts On Fire” and “Deep Inside My Heart” and played on records by Walsh, James Taylor, and Dan Fogelberg, among others.
Meanwhile, The Eagles ended a 14-year hiatus in 1994 and toured with Schmit despite the fact that Meisner had played on all but one of his previous studio albums.
He joined the group’s members past and present in 1998 when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and performed “Take It Easy” and “Hotel California.”
For a decade, he was part of the World Classic Rockers, a touring act that at various times included Donovan, Spencer Davis and Denny Laine.
Meisner was married twice, the first time while still a teenager, and had three children.