The folks at Taste of Country passed along the sad news. The longest standing member of the Marshall Tucker Band died on Saturday. Stuart Swanlund, guitarist for the group since 1985, passed away in his sleep. He had been taking a hiatus from the band to deal with health issues.

Founding member Doug Gray remembers Swanlund as the heart of the band on stage. “Stuart’s enthusiasm onstage never wavered,” he said in a press release. ”Our thoughts and prayers are with Stuart’s family and those who knew him. We have lost a great friend.”

While Swanlund joined the group after they enjoyed their greatest commercial success with songs like ‘Can’t You See’ and ‘Heard It in a Love Song,’ — the latter of which charted on country charts as well — he later added a memorable slide guitar to some old hits, as well as newer material. The group’s 1987 song ‘Hangin’ Out in Smokey Places’ was the highest-charting song from the band on country charts, peaking at No. 44.

Swanlund, or “Stubie,” as he was known to friends, leaves behind his life-long partner Stacey Schmaren and a son named Billy. He also has three grandchildren and one sister. Services for the Marshall Tucker Band guitarist will be held this Saturday (Aug. 11) in Boiling Springs, S.C., just outside is hometown of Spartanburg, S.C.

That day, on Saturday at the Memories, we will pay a tribute to Swanlund at 7:25 by playing some Marshall Tucker Band hits.

From their website, it states the group's style combined rock, country, and jazz and featured extended instrumental passages on which lead guitarist Toy Caldwell shone. The band was signed to Capricorn Records and released their debut album, The Marshall Tucker Band, in March 1973. They gained recognition through a tour with the Allman Brothers Band and found significant success during the course of the '70s, with most of their albums going gold. Their peak came with the million-selling album Carolina Dreams and its Top 15 single "Heard It in a Love Song" in 1977. Since then, the group has continued to write, record, and tour, and entertain fans from around the world.