Founding Atlanta Rhythm Section bassist Paul Goddard died today at the age of 68 after a brief, sudden illness. "We are saddened by the passing of our bass player and dear friend," the group declared on their Facebook page. "Rest in peace P.G.'

Goddard played on all of the group's big hits, including 'Imaginary Lover,' So Into You' and 'I'm Not Gonna Let it Bother Me Tonight.' His melodic, tasteful tone reportedly convinced Rolling Stone's readers to declare his work on 'Another Man's Woman,' from the group's 1979 live album 'Are You Ready!,' as one of the top five bass solos of all time. (You can hear it below.)

We got our own taste of the loyalty of ARS fans a while back, when we screwed up and left 'Imaginary Lover' off our list of Imaginary Girlfriend Songs. As you can see, after a flood of e-mails and (mostly friendly) Twitter attacks, we quickly corrected our mistake.

The Atlanta Rhythm Section formed in Atlanta, Georgia in 1970 and was originally comprised of Goddard, singer Rodney Justo, guitarists Barry Bailey and James Cobb, keyboardist Dean Daughtry and drummer Robert Nix. Justo departed the group in 1972 and was replaced by Ronnie Hammond. Goddard left in the mid-'80s but returned along with Justo in 2011, performing with the group right up until his passing.

"I knew Paul when he was a guitarist, and maybe that's why his bass playing was so musical," Justo said. "And to go with that musicality was a unique sound that made him so identifiable to fans and other musicians as well. Yes, at one time he was 'that big fat guy that played bass,' but once he started playing, he wasn't fat. He was a giant."

Hear Paul Goddard's 'Another Man's Woman' Bass Solo

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