Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesGary Richrath — former guitarist, singer and songwriter for REO Speedwagon — reportedly has died. He would have turned 65 next month.

A post early Monday morning on REO Speedwagon’s official Facebook page, signed “kc” for lead singer Kevin Cronin, declares, “My longtime friend and collaborator Gary Richrath passed away earlier today.” No cause of death is given.

The Facebook post continues, “I feel so sad. Gary was both a unique guitarist and songwriter, and the embodiment of the tough guy with a heart of gold. I learned most of what I know about being in a rock band from Gary Richrath. The entire REO Family mourns his death and shares in the grief of his family, friends, and fans. These words do not come close to expressing the depth of emotions I am feeling at this time.”

The message is accompanied by a photo of Cronin and Richrath together on stage. “This photo has been on my music room table for as long as I can remember, and will stay there,” Cronin writes.

Richrath was REO Speedwagon’s guitarist from 1970 until 1989, when the band enjoyed their peak popularity. He also wrote many of the band’s songs, including the concert favorite “Ridin’ the Storm Out” from their 1973 album of the same name, and the 1981 Billboard top-ten hit “Take It On the Run.”

Richrath left the band in 1989 and released one album on his own, 1992’s Richrath.

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