Todd Nance, Widespread Panic founding drummer, dead at 57

Todd Nance, founding drummer and 30-year member of the Southern rock jam band Widespread Panic, has died at the age of 57.

The group and Nance’s family confirmed the drummer’s death Wednesday, adding that Nance died in Athens, Georgia, following “sudden and unexpectedly severe complications of a chronic illness.”

“With heavy hearts and loving memories, we say goodbye to our Brother Todd Alton Nance,” Widespread Panic said in a statement. “Widespread Panic was born the night of Todd’s first show. He and [founding guitarist Michael Houser] had played music together in high school (maybe junior high) and with a lucky thought, Michael tracked him down and asked him to join us — because we had a gig, but needed a drummer. For 30 years Todd was the engine of the Widespread Panic. He wrote great songs and was a giving and forgiving collaborator. T Man was the epitome of a ‘team player.’ Drove the band and drove the van.”

The band continued, “Funny, adventurous, and a very kind soul, we wish Todd and his family peace during this sad time after so many happy times.”

Nance joined Houser, singer John Bell and bassist Dave Schools for the band’s first official gig as Widespread Panic in February 1986. That started Nance’s 30-year tenure as the band’s drummer, with Nance appearing and serving as a co-writer on the band’s first 11 studio albums, as well as sitting behind the kit for countless concerts by the beloved and well-traveled jam band. The drummer would also take part in the Widespread side project Brute as well as lead his own band, Barbara Cue.

Nance initially left Widespread Panic in 2014 but returned to the group two years later for three gigs in February 2016. However, Nance and the band permanently parted ways soon away, with Duane Trucks joining the band full-time.

“There are no services being planned at this time, but information will be shared as decisions are made regarding the best way to honor Todd’s extraordinary life and career,” Nance’s family added Wednesday in a statement. “The Nance family appreciates the love and support of all and requests that their privacy be honored during this hard time.”

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