• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

OTRC: Stuart Swanlund dies: Marshall Tucker Band guitarist was 54

Stuart Swanlunch appears on stage in a publicity photo taken at The Marshall Tucker Band's concert at Nutty Jerry's Winnie Arena in Winnie, Texas on March 17, 2011. (Barry Sigman)

Stuart Swanlund, guitarist for the Southern rock group The Marshall Tucker Band, has died at age 54.

The musician passed away in his sleep at his home in Chicago on Saturday, August 4, the band said in a statement posted on its website. Swanlund died of natural causes, the message added, without elaborating.

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

Swanlund was born in Puerto Rico on April 3, 1958 and grew up in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He joined the band in 1985 and left the city in 1993. He later moved to Chicago, where his wife, Stacey Schmaren lived, according to an interview with Marshall Tucker Band fan site Tuckerhead.com, which was also posted on the band's website.

Swanlund is survived by Schmaren, his son Billy, three grandchildren and a sister. His funeral is planned for Saturday, August 11, at the Good Shepherd Memorial Park in Boiling Springs, South Carolina.

"My Thoughts and Prayers today will be with Billy Swanlund, Stacey Schmaren his best friend for more years than I can remember and all of Stuarts family (sic)," Gray added on his Facebook page. "We all have lost a friend. Please take a moment to remember Stuarts one and only great Laugh and certainly his everlasting Smile. Testify with that slide guitar in that band you will be joining! LOVE."

The Marshall Tucker Band is known for songs such as "Heard It in a Love Song," which was released in 1977 and the 1979 track ""Last of the Singing Cowboys." The group still tours today.

(Copyright ©2018 OnTheRedCarpet.com. All Rights Reserved.)