Fleetwood Mac keyboardist Brett Tuggle dead at 70

Brett Tuggle
(Image credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

Brett Tuggle, touring keyboardist with Fleetwood Mac, and formerly David Lee Roth's band and more, has passed away at the age of 70.

The news was confirmed by Tuggle's son, Matt, who shared that the keyboardist died on Sunday, June 19, from complications related to cancer.

“He was loved by his family so much,” Matt told Rolling Stone. “His family was with him throughout the entire time of his illness. He was a lovely father. He gave me music in my life.”

Born in Denver, Colorado, Tuggle learned how to play the piano at a young age, before moving onto guitar and taking on gigs in small venues in Denver as a teen. When he left home, he began playing with touring bands in Texas, later returning to his birth place to form the band Head First. In 1979, record producer Keith Olsen invited Tuggle to go to Los Angeles to meet an artist who needed a keyboard player.

During his time in LA, Tuggle spent much of 1981 as the keyboardist for John Kay & Steppenwolf, before meeting Rick Springfield and joining his band in early 1982. 

'Our sweet Brett Tuggle made it home tonight,' Springfield wrote on Twitter as he shared a photo with the musician. 'God bless his beautiful spirit.' 

Tuggle also played keyboards with David Lee Roth in Roth's post-Van Halen career 1986-94, during in which time he co-wrote Just Like Paradise alongside the vocalist. Tuggle played with Roth on the 1986/1987 Eat 'Em and Smile tour, the 1988 Skyscraper tour, the 1991 A Little Ain't Enough tour and the 1994 Your Filthy Little Mouth tour. 

In 1992, Tuggle joined Mick Fleetwood's side project The Zoo, which led him to join Fleetwood Mac's live band. He played keyboards on every Fleetwood Mac tour from 1997 to 2017, and also gigged extensively with Stevie Nicks, Buckingham, and Buckingham McVie. 

On April 5, during the first night of Buckingham's current tour, he said to the audience: “I do want to mention the gentleman who is noticeably absent from the stage tonight. Mr. Brett Tuggle is having a little bit of an health problem. Hopefully he’ll be back for the next show, whatever it takes. We missed him tonight.”

During his career, Tuggle also worked with names such as Jimmy Page, Rick Springfield, Chris Isaak and Steven Tyler.

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Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.