Bob Welch, Ex-Fleetwood Mac Guitarist, Commits Suicide

Late musician also found success as a solo artist after leaving the band in 1974.

Bob Welch, a former member of Fleetwood Mac, was found dead in his home in Nashville on Thursday (June 7) from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

According to the Nashville police, Welch shot himself in the chest, and his body was discovered by his wife around noon. The police told WKRN-TV, Nashville's local ABC station, that Welch had been suffering from health issues recently and that he left a suicide note.

The Los Angeles-born guitarist joined Fleetwood Mac in 1971, when the band was beginning to evolve from its initial setup as a hard-edged British blues combo into a polished pop/rock act. Welch played guitar and contributed vocals on five Fleetwood Mac albums, Future Games, Bare Trees, Penguin, Mystery to Me and Heroes Are Hard to Find, the band's first to crack the U.S. top 40. He was also responsible for penning two of the band's early hits, "Sentimental Lady" and "Hypnotized."

Welch left the band after Heroes, an opening that paved the way for Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham to join, which re-energized the group and launched the band toward their long-desired commercial success and future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1998.

After leaving the band in 1974, Welch later formed the British rock group Paris in 1976 and found success as a solo artist. His 1977 album, French Kiss, reached platinum status and spawned three hit singles: "Ebony Eyes," "Hot Love, Cold World" and a re-recording of "Sentimental Lady," on which Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham provided backing vocals.

Welch was 66.

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