Robbie Robertson, best known for his work as the lead guitarist for The Band, has died, his manager confirmed. He was 80.

At the time of his death, Robertson, along with Garth Hudson, was one of just two surviving members of The Band, which rose to prominence as Bob Dylan’s backing band in the 1960s. 

The Band played at Woodstock in 1969 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

Robertson’s manager Jared Levine said Robertson died following a long illness, “surrounded by his family.”

Robbie Robertson
Robbie Robertson, lead guitarist for the legendary rock group The Band, at The Village recording studio in West Los Angeles on Feb. 6, 2014.

Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images


Born Jamie Royal Robertson in Toronto, Canada, he joined the Hawks, backing Ronnie Hawkins, with drummer and future The Band member Levon Helm, at age 16. The other future members of The Band — keyboard player Hudson, bassist Rick Danko and pianist Richard Manuel — would later also join the Hawks. 

The Hawks began backing Dylan in 1965 after the iconic folk musician went electric. In 1967, the group changed its name to simply The Band. 

One year later, they released their debut album, “Music From Big Pink,” named for the house in Woodstock, New York, where the group had been living when they wrote many of the songs included on the album, including the rock classic, “The Weight.”

That was followed by hits like “Up On Cripple Creek” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” before the group’s star-studded farewell concert, released as the album and film called “The Last Waltz.”

This is a developing story. It will be updated.