SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Gregg Allman, a survivor of tragedy, knew the blues musically and in a painfully personal way.

Raised by a single mother after his father was shot to death, he idolized his guitar-slinging older brother Duane and became his musical partner. They formed the nucleus of The Allman Brothers Band, which helped define the Southern rock sound of the 1970s.

Their songs such as “Whipping Post,” ″Ramblin’ Man” and “Midnight Rider” laid the foundation for the genre and opened the doors for groups like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band.

Gregg Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel the Allman Brothers Band to superstardom, died Saturday. He was 69.

Allman died peacefully and surrounded by loved ones at his home near Savannah, Georgia, his manager, Michael Lehman, told The Associated Press. He blamed cancer for Allman’s death.

“It’s a result of his reoccurrence of liver cancer that had come back five years ago,” Lehman said in an interview. “He kept it very private because he wanted to continue to play music until he couldn’t.”

Allman played his last concert in October as health problems forced him to cancel other 2016 shows. He announced Aug. 5 that he was “under his doctor’s care at the Mayo Clinic” due to “serious health issues.” Later that year, he canceled more dates, citing a throat injury. In March, he canceled performances for the rest of 2017.

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, the rock star known for his long blond hair was raised in Florida.