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Gary Scruggs, Grammy-Winning Musician and Son of Bluegrass Pillar Earl Scruggs, Dies at Age 72

INDIO, CA - MAY 5: Earl Scruggs (L) and Gary Scruggs perform as part of the Stagecoach Music Festival at the Empire Polo Fields on May 5, 2007 in Indio, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Gary Scruggs, the son of bluegrass pillars Earl and Louise Scruggs and brother of Steve and Randy Scruggs, died last Wednesday (Dec. 1) at age 72.

Gary Eugene Scruggs was born on May 18, 1949 in Knoxville, Tenn. He learned to play guitar and bass at a young age and as a teenager, he contributed to recordings by his father's iconic duo with Lester Flatt, Flatt & Scruggs.

In the '70s, Gary recorded with Randy as The Scruggs Brothers and with his siblings and father in progressive country rock band The Earl Scruggs Revue. The most monumental album involving two generations of the Scruggs family, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Will the Circle Be Unbroken, tied together country, folk and bluegrass' past and present in 1972.

Gary went on to work with Waylon Jennings as a guitarist, backup vocalist, songwriter and producer.

Since his retirement from the road in the mid-'80s, Gary collaborated with a who's-who of country and country-adjacent artists. Co-writers range from Dolly Parton ("Country Road") to Steve Martin ("Daddy Played the Banjo").

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Additional foundational talents to work with Gary include Doc Watson, Marie Osmond, Vince Gill, Charlie Daniels, Patty Loveless and George Strait.

Gary won a Grammy award in 2001 (Best Country Instrumental Performance) with Earl Scruggs and Friends for a recording of Flatt & Scruggs' "Foggy Mountain Breakdown." A Best Bluegrass Album Grammy nomination followed in 2008 for The Ultimate Collection / Live at the Ryman.

His obituary lists the following survivors: sons Jesse (Emily) and Jaime (Erika), his niece Lindsey and grandchildren Alex, Camila, Austin and Lily.

A celebration of life funeral service will be held Wednesday (Dec. 8) at 2 p.m. in the chapel of Spring Hill Funeral Home in Nashville. Memorial contributions may be made to the Country Music Hall of Fame or the Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, N.C.

The obituary does not identify a cause of death.

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Gary Scruggs, Grammy-Winning Musician and Son of Bluegrass Pillar Earl Scruggs, Dies at Age 72