The band announced Frey’s death Monday “With the heaviest of hearts” in a statement on its official website.
Frey passed away Monday in New York City after a “courageous battle”, succumbing to complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia, the statement said.
Along with his role as the band’s lead guitarist, Frey was also a talented singer and songwriter. Frey’s vocals can be heard on many classic Eagles singles including Take It Easy and Tequila Sunrise.
With the Eagles Frey won six Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
After the band broke up Frey went on to launch a solo career, releasing hits The Heat Is On and You Belong to the City.
Frey was born in Detroit Nov. 6, 1948. He was in a number of bands in Detroit during the 60s, before heading to California to pursue his music career. He performed backing Linda Ronstadt before starting the Eagles with Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner in 1971.
The band achieved great success before breaking up in 1980. The Eagles reunited in 1994, launching a popular tour and releasing the album Hell Freezes Over.
“He was like a brother to me; we were family, and like most families, there was some dysfunction. But, the bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken, even during the 14 years that the Eagles were dissolved,” Henley said Monday evening in a statement.
Henley writes that crossing paths with Frey changed his life, adding Frey impacted millions of people all over the world.
Frey was married to wife Cindy and they had three children, daughter Taylor and sons Deacon and Otis.