Danny McCulloch, who played bass for the Animals during their late '60s psychedelic period, has died of heart failure, his children said.

Describing their father as "a giant among us," Natasha Brearley, Nina McCulloch Kent, Tara McCulloch and Alistair Temple wrote a loving tribute published today via NME. They described his 1966-68 tenure with Eric Burdon as producing "undoubtedly (the) best edition of the Animals," through "the fame and limelight was thrust upon him and this didn’t quite suit this unique individual. When he left in 1968, he found creative freedom."

McCulloch played on three Animals albums, including 1967's Winds of Change, which almost touched the Top 40 on the strength of the No. 8 U.S. hit "San Franciscan Nights." A second single, "Good Times," also charted in the Top 40. They followed that with a pair of 1968 albums in The Twain Shall Meet (featuring "Sky Pilot," a No. 14 U.S. song) and Every One of Us.

"Although best known for the earth-shattering riffs played with Eric Burdon and the Animals, giving depth and vitality to Burdon's vocals," his children said, "there was much more to his individual composition and passion for the raw music."

Before joining the Animals' second incarnation, McCulloch's bands included Tony Craven and the Casuals, which featured a young Mitch Mitchell on drums, long before he rose to fame with Jimi Hendrix. McCulloch also appeared on sessions with Muddy Waters and sat in with Jerry Lee Lewis on the Ready Steady Go! show, according to Vintage Vinyl News.

Later, after McCulloch and Vic Briggs left the Animals, they released a 1969 album titled Wings of a Man. Into the '80s, McCulloch worked as a psychiatric nurse before resuming work with the Animals, beginning in the early '90s. That included re-recordings of their old hits, and a 2000s-era tour as the Animals and Friends. McCulloch, 69 when he passed on Jan. 29, also issued a 1995 solo album, titled Beowulf.

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