Randy Meisner Dies: Eagles Founding Guitarist Was 77

Randy Meisner, the co-founding Eagles guitarist whose soaring voice powered their massive hit “Take It To the Limit,” died Wednesday night from complications caused by chronic pulmonary disease, a statement from the band said. He was 77.

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“Randy was an integral part of the Eagles and instrumental in the early success of the band,” the band said in the statement. “His vocal range was astonishing, as is evident on his signature ballad, ‘Take It to the Limit.’”

Commonly known as the Eagles but with no “the” on album covers, the group started out as Linda Ronstadt’s backup band in early-1970s Los Angeles and would become one of the world’s biggest acts. The RIAA ranks the band ranks fifth for all-time album sales with 101 million, including 13 platinum discs. The 1976 hits compilation Their Greatest Hits (1971-75) for a while was the top-selling album in U.S. history.

RELATED: Glenn Frey Dies: Eagles Singer-Guitarist Was 67

Before he founded the band, Meisner played with Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band and was the original bass player for country-rock group Poco in the late 1960s.

He was part of Eagles from their self-titled 1972 debut album through 1976’s Hotel California, quitting the group in 1977. He was replaced by Timothy B. Schmit, who also had succeeded Meisner in Poco when he had departed the group to form Eagles.

Meisner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Eagles in 1998.

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