Dusty Hill Dead At 72

Longtime ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill has passed away at 72.

Dusty passed away at his home in Houston, TX -- this according to his bandmates, Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard.

They write, "We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX. We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the 'Top'. We will forever be connected to that "Blues Shuffle in C." The boys add, "You will be missed greatly, amigo."

Unclear if Dusty's death is in any way related to another health scare he recently suffered -- namely, a hip injury that the band said he had to address in the past week or so, forcing him to bow out of a string of shows across the U.S. with his bandmates.

The band addressed Dusty's passing on Facebook not too long ago, writing ... "The members of ZZ Top, Billy, and Frank, would like to share that Dusty, their fearless Bass player, is on a short detour back to Texas, to address a hip issue. They await a speedy recovery and have him back pronto." They replaced Dusty with Elwood Francis ... who's been filling in the band's bass duties.

Dusty is one of the original founding members of ZZ Top -- serving as their lead bass player and secondary lead vocalist since they launched the rock band in 1969. He's also one half of the two famous bearded, sunglass-wearing men who help make up the trio.

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