Dusty Hill, ZZ Top bassist, dies aged 72 after leaving tour

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Dusty Hill, the long-serving bassist of American rock-blues band ZZ Top, has died at the age of 72, his fellow band members have confirmed.

He played bass for the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers from Texas for more than 50 years but reportedly died in his sleep at his home in Houston after suffering a hip injury last week.

Dusty Hill of ZZ Top performs at O2 Academy Glasgow on July 26, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland
Dusty Hill of ZZ Top performs in 2017. Photo: Getty

"We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston," lead singer Billy Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard said.

"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'.

"You will be missed greatly, amigo," they added.

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The tragic news comes days after ZZ Top announced Dusty was on a "short detour back to Texas" to address a "hip issue" instead of joining the band’s scheduled performances across the US over the last week.

"Per Dusty’s request ‘The show must go on!’. (We) await a speedy recovery and have him back pronto," the post read at the time.

Elwood Francis performed on Dusty's behalf for the shows.

Dusty Hill, from left, Frank Beard and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top
Dusty Hill, from left, Frank Beard and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top perform in 2016. Photo: AP

Dusty was born in Dallas, Texas, in 1949. He joined ZZ Top in 1970 a year after they released their first single.

The three-musician lineup remained the same for more than half a century as ZZ Top progressed from heavy blues to its experimental synthesizer sound of the 1980s.

The trio became recognisable worldwide for their distinctive look: long beards, sunglasses and Stetson hats.

They also gained fame for their popular music videos, including "Gimme All Your Lovin'" and "Sharp Dressed Man," going on to win three MTV Video Music Awards.

ZZ Top has released 15 studio albums, the most recent coming in 2012. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

Tributes have been flooding Twitter after news of Dusty's death, with fans calling him a "true rocker" and an "all-time great bass player".

"So sad to hear about Dusty Hill. An all-time great bass player, and a rock and roll institution. Breaks my heart," one person wrote.

"So sad. Thank you for the music, Dusty. RIP Dusty Hill," was another post.

Additional reporting by AFP.

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