Former Fleetwood Mac Member Bob Welch Found Dead

Bob Welch, a former member of the band Fleetwood Mac in his mid-60’s, died Thursday of a gunshot wound to the chest, according to police.  

"The police department responded to his address at 12:18 p.m., where Mr. Welch was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest," Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said in a statement.   A suicide note was recovered at the scene.

Wendy Armistead Welch whose been married to the musician since 1985, indicated that he had been suffering with health issues, according to Aaron.

Welch was born the son of successful Hollywood movie producer Robert Welch, in Los Angeles in 1945, or according to some sources 1946. At a young age, he learned clarinet and then switched to guitar in his early teens.  After graduating high school, Welch skipped on attending Georgetown University and moved to Paris.  From there, he explored music and played with many bands before joining Fleetwood Mac.

The Los Angeles-born singer and guitarist joined Fleetwood Mac in 1971, when the band was beginning to make the shift from a British blues combo into a polished pop/rock band. Welch played guitar and contributed vocals on five Fleetwood Mac albums, Future Games, Bare Trees, Penguin, Mystery to Me and Heroes Are Hard to Find, the band's first to crack the U.S. top 40, according to MTV. He was also responsible for penning two of the band's early hits, "Sentimental Lady" and "Hypnotized."

Welch left the band after Heroes, that opening would be later filled by Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, which launched the band toward commercial success and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, according to MTV.

In 1998, original band members Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie as well as Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks was named in the hall; Welch was not.

"My era was the bridge era," Welch told Plain Dealer, a Cleveland newspaper in 1998. "It was a transition. But it was an important period in the history of the band. Mick Fleetwood dedicated a whole chapter of his biography to my era of the band and credited me with 'saving Fleetwood Mac.' Now they want to write me out of the history of the group. It hurts."

Many Bob Welch fans have considered him an illegitimate Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.

The Los Angeles star did go solo, and had huge hits like "Ebony Eyes," "Hot Love, Cold World" and   "Sentimental Lady," a song originally recorded with Mac but reworked by Welch.

Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks told The Associated Press that Welch’s death hit her hard.

“The death of Bob Welch is devastating ... I had many great times with him after Lindsey and I joined Fleetwood Mac. He was an amazing guitar player — he was funny, sweet — and he was smart. I am so very sorry for his family and for the family of Fleetwood Mac — so, so sad ...”