Dickey Betts, a founding member of the illustrious rock ensemble the Allman Brothers Band, passed away at his residence in Osprey, Florida, on Thursday. The influential guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist had been grappling with two forms of cancer in addition to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He was 80 years old.

The announcement was disseminated on Betts’ official website through a statement issued by his family.

“Dickey was a larger-than-life figure, and his absence will be profoundly felt across the globe,” said the statement.

Betts’ distinctive blend of blues, rock, and country-inspired guitar melodies played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of Southern rock during the 1960s and ’70s.

“Dickey possessed one of the most distinct guitar styles in the world, and his signature sound resonated unmistakably whether heard on record or experienced live,” remarked Chuck Leavell, a longstanding member of the Allman Brothers who presently serves as the music director and keyboardist for the Rolling Stones. “He leaves behind an enduring and enviable legacy that will be celebrated for generations to come.”

Betts is most renowned for his composition “Ramblin’ Man.” Initially met with reluctance by the Allman Brothers Band, who felt it bore too strong a resemblance to country music, the song was eventually released in 1973 and soared to become the band’s first and only top 10 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

With his lean figure and trademark mustache, Betts cut a figure so iconic that director Cameron Crowe fashioned the rock star protagonist of his 2000 film “Almost Famous” after him. The character was portrayed by Billy Crudup.

“Crudup’s portrayal, and much more, pays homage to Dickey,” affirmed Crowe in a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone magazine. “Dickey appeared to be a reserved individual with an immense depth of soul, perhaps tinged with an air of danger and playful recklessness in his gaze. He was a towering presence.”

Born Forrest Richard “Dickey” Betts in 1943 in West Palm Beach, Florida, he hails from a musically inclined family and commenced his musical journey at the tender age of five, initially mastering the ukulele before progressing to the mandolin, banjo, and ultimately the guitar. He embarked on his performance career with rock bands across Florida, a state he would call home for the entirety of his life, and joined the Allman Brothers Band upon its inception in 1969.

Betts initially shared the role of co-lead guitarist with Duane Allman, one of the siblings for whom the band was named. He expanded the horizons of rock guitar improvisation, with his spiraling sound impeccably captured in tracks like “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” on the Allman Brothers’ seminal 1971 album “At Fillmore East.” Betts also distinguished himself as a songwriter with compositions such as “Jessica” and “Blue Sky.”

Following Duane Allman’s tragic demise in a motorcycle accident in 1971, Betts assumed the mantle of the Allman Brothers Band’s sole guitarist and lead vocalist. Over the years, his relationship with the group fluctuated, marked by intermittent breaks to collaborate with other outfits and pursue solo ventures. However, Betts struggled to replicate the triumphs he experienced with the Allman Brothers Band during his solo endeavors.

Notorious for his tumultuous lifestyle, Betts garnered a reputation for indulging in excesses, including incidents of hotel room destruction and altercations with law enforcement officers.

Yet, according to his longtime manager, David Spero, Betts also possessed a deeply compassionate side.

“He was an incredibly generous individual,” remarked Spero in an interview with NPR. “He dedicated time to his fans, willingly signing autographs and posing for photographs.”

Betts’ generosity was further underscored in a 2005 interview on WHYY’s Fresh Air, where country music luminary Billy Joe Shaver recounted Betts’ instrumental role in kickstarting the musical career of Shaver’s son, Eddy Shaver, by recognizing his talent and generously providing prized guitars.

“Dickey Betts gifted [Eddy Shaver] with his 335, once belonging to Duane Allman, and a ’55 Strat when he was just 13 years old,” recounted Shaver. “Dickey recognized his talent far sooner than I did.”