Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top; Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesBill Ham, who managed ZZ Top from its founding in 1969 until 2006, died Monday in Austin, Texas at the age of 79, according to a statement from his rep.

Ham, who began his career in the music business as an artist with a single produced by Pat Boone, saw Billy Gibbons‘ pre-ZZ Top band Moving Sidewalks opening for The Doors in 1968 and formed a company to manage them. After that band broke up, Ham continued in his role as Gibbons formed ZZ Top. Ham produced or co-produced all of ZZ Top’s albums through the mid-1990s.

“We were saddened to hear of Bill Ham’s passing. His early vision and continuing encouragement were invaluable; his efforts and energy will always remain deeply appreciated,” reads a statement posted to ZZ Top’s website.

Ham’s other major client was country superstar Clint Black, whom Ham signed to RCA records in 1989.

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