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OTRC: Bob Welch, ex-Fleetwood Mac member, dead at 66, suicide note found

Bob Welch appears on the cover of his 1977 album 'French Kiss.' / Bob Welch appears in a 2008 photo posted on his MySpace page. (EMI Records / myspace.com/bobwelch)

Bob Welch, a rock musician and former member of Fleetwood Mac, has died at age 66 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, police say.

His wife Wendy found his body in their home in Nashville, Tennessee, around 12:15 p.m. on Thursday, June 7, the Associated Press reported. Welch had a chest wound and had left a suicide note, a police spokesperson told the news wire, adding that the rocker had recently been dealing with health issues,.

Welch, a Los Angeles musician, joined Fleetwood Mac around 1971. He was the sole guitarist on the rock band's ninth studio album, "Heroes Are Hard to Find," which was released in 1974. It was the first time the group had only one musician playing a non-bass guitar.

Following a tour to promote the record and amid personal turmoil, Welch quit Fleetwood Mac in December of that year. He was replaced by guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. Stevie Nicks, now the band's most famous singer, soon joined as well.

Welch went on to form what would become a short-lived rock group with former Jethro Tull bassist Glenn Cornick and ex-Todd Rundgren's Nazz drummer Thom Mooney. Welch then pursued a solo career.

His debut album, the 1977 record "French Kiss," was his most successful, selling more than 1 million copies in the United States. It contained singles such as "Sentimental Lady" and "Ebony Eyes." His final solo album was the 2006 compilation record "His Fleetwood Mac Years and Beyond, Vol. 2."

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