Gib Guilbeau, a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and vocalist who served as a linchpin of the latter-day Flying Burrito Brothers lineup, has died at the age of 78.

Born Floyd August Guilbeau on Sept. 26, 1937, in Sunset, La., he picked up music from an early age, and started playing violin in his teens. Although Guilbeau wasn't a member of the band during the period widely acknowledged as its classic era, he'd established deep roots in the country-rock scene well before drummer Gene Parsons recruited him for the revamped Burrito Brothers in 1974.

A veteran of the Reasons, whose lineup was raided by the Burritos in the late '60s, Guilbeau was also a member of Swampwater, the short-lived combo that was tabbed to replace the Stone Poneys as Linda Ronstadt's backing band and went on to record a pair of albums on their own.

Guilbeau stayed with the Flying Burrito Brothers for a decade after joining up, playing a part in a surprise second act for the group that included a spate of solid early '80s success on the country charts. He departed when the band folded in 1984, but later returned for another stint that lasted into the late '90s. His last album with the Brothers, California Jukebox, was released in 1997. Alongside his work with the band, he remained an active session player and pursued a sporadic solo career, releasing a handful of records that included 1975's Cajun Country and 2003's Songs I Like.

The cause of of Guilbeau's death hasn't been made public as of this writing, but his passing has been confirmed by the Burrito Brothers Facebook page, where an update reads, "Gib was a beautiful guy. Great singer and songwriter. One of the last of the early wave (1968-75) of Flying Burrito Brothers. He died last night. It was an honor to play a couple times with him. Thoughts and prayers go out to Ronnie and the rest of the Guilbeau family. Thanks, Gib, for the music!"

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