Did Arthritis Medication Contribute To Glenn Frey's Death?

By May Wilkerson 01/19/16

Frey died Monday of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, colitism, and pneumonia.

Glenn Frey

It has already been a tough year for iconic rock stars. Glenn Frey, one of the co-founders of the Eagles, died on Monday at age 67. According to Eagles manager Irving Azoff, his death was partially caused by medications he was taking for arthritis.

Frey died of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, colitism, and pneumonia, according to a statement on the band’s website. “The colitis and pneumonia were side effects from all the meds,” Azoff told The Wrap. “He died from complications of ulcerative colitis after being treated with drugs for his rheumatoid arthritis which he had for over 15 years.”

The manager declined to specify exactly which drugs Frey was taking, for legal reasons. He said that Frey had been coping with a great deal of physical pain in his final years. “One day his knees would hurt, his hands hurt,” said Azoff, adding that arthritis “moves from joint to joint.”

The Eagles have sold more than 100 million records worldwide and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Frey is largely heralded for helping the band climb the charts, and he co-wrote some of their greatest hits like “Hotel California,” an ode to hedonism in Los Angeles, and “Take It Easy.”

Like many bands, they have a history of turmoil and copious drug use. In the ‘70s, “drugs, girls and fights” led to drama within the group, said singer and drummer Don Henley in the 2013 documentary History Of The Eagles.

In 1980, the band broke up and remained apart for 14 years, and Frey was said to have tangled with bandmates, including Henley. But despite tensions, the two remained close.

“He was like a brother to me; we were family, and like most families, there was some dysfunction,” said Henley in a statement on the website yesterday. “But, the bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken, even during the 14 years that the Eagles were dissolved.” He added: “Glenn was the one who started it all.  He was the spark plug, the man with the plan."

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.