Fans of iconic southern rock group the Marshall Tucker Band are mourning the loss of longtime member, guitarist Stuart Swanlund, who died of natural causes in his sleep at his Chicago home on Saturday (Aug. 4). He was 54.

Swanlund was born in Puerto Rico on April 3, 1958 and raised in Spartanburg, S.C. At just five years old, he would sit on his grandmother's porch and listen to his neighbor, Doug Gray, rehearse with a rock 'n' roll band across the street, never knowing that years later he'd be playing alongside Gray in the Marshall Tucker Band. Swanlund's slide guitar work can be heard on their newer material as well as on many of their classic tunes, such as "Searchin' for a Rainbow," "Can't You See" and "Fire on the Mountain."

"Stuart, or 'Stubie' as we called him, was the longest-standing member of the Marshall Tucker Band from 1985, onward," Doug Gray said in a statement. "He recently took a hiatus from the road due to health problems and even with those issues, Stuart's enthusiasm onstage never wavered. Our thoughts and prayers are with Stuart's family and those who knew him. We have lost a great friend."

Gray notes that one of the highlights of Swanlund's time on the road with the Marshall Tucker Band was last winter when he performed on the Grand Ole Opry stage at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium. When not touring with the Marshall Tucker Band, Swanlund performed in Chicago with local band, the Tone Generators.

Swanlund is survived by his son, William "Billy" Swanlund, his lifelong partner Stacey Schmaren, three grandchildren and sister, Suzanne Spencer. Funeral services for Swanlund will be held Saturday, August 11 at 11:00 AM at the Good Shepherd Memorial Park in Boiling Springs, S.C.

Flowers and cards may be sent to: Good Shepherd Memorial Park, 4164 Hwy 9, Boiling Springs, S.C. 29316.

See Photos of Stuart and Other Dearly Departed Musicians