Meisner died Wednesday night due to complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to a statement from the band.
“Randy was an integral part of the Eagles and instrumental in the early success of the band,” the band said in the statement. “His vocal range was astonishing, as is evident on his signature ballad, ‘Take It to the Limit.’”
Alongside Glenn Frey, Don Henley and Bernie Leadon, Meisner — born in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, in 1946 — was a founding member of the Eagles in 1971. Before forming the band, he played with Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band and was the original bass player for country-rock group Poco in the late 1960s.
Meisner was with the Eagles from their self-titled 1972 debut album through 1976’s Hotel California, before quitting the group in 1977. (He was replaced by Timothy B. Schmit, who had also succeeded Meisner in Poco when he had departed the group to form the Eagles.)
The bulk of the Eagles’ vocal duties went to Henley and Frey, but Meisner sang lead on one of the group’s most enduring hits: “Take It to the Limit,” from the 1975 album One of These Nights, peaked at No. 4 on the Hot 100 in 1976 and spent 23 weeks on the chart — the band’s longest-charting hit on the tally. The song is remembered for Meisner’s lofty vocals, especially toward the end of the song when his “aaaahs!” rise to new heights.
Meisner was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the Eagles in 1998.
Tragedy struck Meisner’s personal life in 2016 when his wife, Lana Rae Meisner, was fatally shot in the couple’s Los Angeles home after an “accidental discharge of a firearm,” according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
According to the Eagles’ statement, funeral arrangements are pending for Meisner.