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Don Henley: Glenn Frey ‘Changed My Life Forever’

Don Henley's statement on Glenn Frey
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Following Glenn Frey‘s death on Monday (Jan. 18), his Eagles bandmate Don Henley has released a statement, reflecting on their relationship and praising Frey’s personality and knowledge.

Frey and Henley first met in Los Angeles, Calif., in 1970. Together, they played in Linda Ronstadt‘s backup band, before forming the Eagles with fellow Ronstadt back-up band members Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon. In his statement, Henley calls Frey “like a brother” and “family.”

“… Like most families, there was some dysfunction,” Henley says. The Eagles broke up in 1980 before reuniting in 1994, but, Henley adds, “the bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken, even during the 14 years that the Eagles were dissolved.

“We were two young men who made the pilgrimage to Los Angeles with the same dream: to make our mark in the music industry — and with perseverance, a deep love of music, our alliance with other great musicians and our manager, Irving Azoff, we built something that has lasted longer than anyone could have dreamed,” Henley continues. “But, Glenn was the one who started it all.”

Henley goes on to praise Frey as “the spark plug, the man with the plan,” recalling his Eagles co-founder’s “encyclopedic knowledge of popular music” and “work ethic that wouldn’t quit,” and calling Frey “funny, bullheaded, mercurial, generous, deeply talented and driven.”

“… I’m not sure I believe in fate, but I know that crossing paths with Glenn Lewis Frey in 1970 changed my life forever, and it eventually had an impact on the lives of millions of other people all over the planet,” Henley says. “It will be very strange going forward in a world without him in it. But, I will be grateful, every day, that he was in my life.

“Rest in peace, my brother,” Henley concludes. “You did what you set out to do, and then some.”

Frey, who turned 67 in November, died due to complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia. In late 2015, he underwent “major surgery” due to his intestinal issues, which he believed to be due to his early band days involving drugs and alcohol and had been battling since the early 1980s. Given the lengthy recovery time associated with Frey’s recent surgery, the Eagles opted to postpone being honored at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors in favor of recognition during the 2016 ceremony, so that the entire band could attend.

There is no word on how Frey’s death will affect the Eagles’ future.

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