Chris Hollo The "Coat of Many Colors"-singing Walmart cashier turned Internet…
- Posted on Aug 7th 2012 1:15PM by Jason MacNeil
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According to the Spartanburg Herald Journal the guitarist died in his sleep from natural causes.
"It's devastating," the band's founding member Doug Gray told the Spartanburg Herald Journal, who added Gray played with the group when they performed at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry last November and at a benefit concert last month. "He'll be best remembered for his personality and his guitar playing. His personality was truly larger than life."
"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," Gray posted on the band's Facebook page Monday. "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 band issued another press release hours later with more information.
Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Swanlund could be found as a youngster occasionally on his grandmother's porch listening to his next door neighbor, Doug Gray, play. Swanlund -- nicknamed "Stubie" -- would join the Marshall Tucker band in 1985 and play on some of the southern rock band's latter day hits like "Fire on the Mountain" and "Can't You See." When not touring with the group Swanlund played with a Chicago band the Tone Generators. In an interview on the band's site the musician said he left the group in 1993 to concentrate playing around Chicago. Swanlund rejoined the band but underwent surgery on his hand to repair joints.
Swanlund is survived by a son William (Billy), his partner Stacey Schmaren, a sister Suzanne and three grandchildren. The funeral will take place Saturday at 11 a.m. local time in Boiling Springs, South Carolina.
The Marshall Tucker Band had several dates slated for this month but there's no word as to their status given Swanlund's passing.