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Former Grateful Dead Manager Rock Scully Dies at 73

Ben Gabbe, Getty Images

Rock Scully, the longtime manager of the Grateful Dead and a fixture on the Bay Area rock scene, has passed away at the age of 73 following a struggle with lung cancer.

The news comes courtesy of the Monterey County Weekly, which printed an e-mail from Scully’s brother explaining that the end, while certainly heartbreaking for his loved ones, came peacefully; as one passage puts it, “It was amazingly without much suffering … family members could say their farewells.”

TIME looks back on Scully’s tenure with the band, noting that he signed on as their manager in 1965 after seeing them play a San Francisco gig while they were still the Warlocks. Scully and the Dead stayed together for the next 20 years, an impressive run in a turbulent industry — especially given the added strains of trying to wrangle a psychedelic jam band into a business.

Scully later wrote about his experiences in the Dead family in a 1995 memoir, ‘Twenty Years on the Bus With Garcia and the Grateful Dead: Living With the Dead,’ which tried to offer a somewhat objective look at the band as a social phenomenon while offering a peek behind the curtain of one of rock’s longest-running — and lucrative — counterculture experiments.

Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir took to Facebook to offer his tribute to Scully, penning a note that reads in part, “He put in the miles with us. He knew the words to all the songs. He knew the right things to say, to tell people, to let them know what we were all about without ever actually explaining anything, because he knew it couldn’t be explained. What a guy.”

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