Dickey Betts, "Ramblin' Man" and Family Man, Has Died at 80 Years Old

Allman Brothers Band singer-guitarist Dickey Betts passed away at 80 years old. Luckily, he’s leaving more than his legacy behind.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Apr. 19 2024, Published 9:16 a.m. ET

Dickey Betts at the press conference for the Gibson Custom Southern Rock tribute 1959 Les Paul on May 19, 2014
Source: Getty Images

When we think of the Allman Brothers Band, we don’t always remember that one of the key members was actually Dickey Betts, who wasn’t an actual Allman brother. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t part of the band! He and Duane Allman collaborated in the 1970s when the band got their start. Dickey was behind some of the band’s biggest hits such as “Ramblin’ Man” and “Jessica.” But on April 18, 2024, Dickey passed away at 80 years old.

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While he was 80 years old, many of us music-heads wish that Dickey had another 10 or 20 years in him. He toured right up through the mid-2010s until he retired in 2014. He even went back on the road in 2018 before some health issues got in his way. But what was Dickey Betts’s cause of death and what was his net worth when he died?

Dickey Betts at the 4th Annual Jammys
Source: Getty Images
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Dickey Betts’s cause of death was cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

While Dickey lived a long and fruitful life, he faced some health issues as he got older. In August 2018, he had a mild stroke, which caused him to cancel his remaining tour dates with his son, Duane (named after Duane Allman). He successfully underwent surgery in September 2018 to relieve swelling in his brain. But since, then, Dickey was diagnosed with cancer and COPD, the combination of which is more terminal than either alone.

While we don’t know which type of cancer Dickey suffered from, his manager confirmed the causes to Rolling Stone. “It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that the Betts family announce the peaceful passing of Forrest Richard ‘Dickey’ Betts (Dec. 12, 1943 – April 18, 2024) at the age of 80 years old,” Dickey’s family said in a statement.

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“The legendary performer, songwriter, bandleader, and family patriarch was at his home in Osprey, Fla., surrounded by his family. Dickey was larger-than-life, and his loss will be felt worldwide. At this difficult time, the family asks for prayers and respect for their privacy in the coming days. More information will be forthcoming at the appropriate time.”

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While we know at least a bit about cancer, COPD is a lesser-known cause of death. According to the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD), “COPD is a heterogeneous lung condition characterized by chronic respiratory symptoms (dyspnea, cough, sputum production and/or exacerbations) due to abnormalities of the airways (bronchitis, bronchiolitis) and/or alveoli (emphysema) that cause persistent, often progressive, airflow obstruction.”

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Dickey Betts had an estimated net worth of $10 million at his time of death.

Dickey wasn’t just a “ramblin’ man,” but he was also a family man. The prolific musician had four children: Kimberly, Christy, Jessica, and Duane. He's survived by his fifth wife, Donna, whom he married in 1989. Not only did Dickey play with the Allman Brothers, but he later formed his own bands, Great Southern and The Dickey Betts Band, in addition to Betts, Hall, Leavell, and Trucks.

Dickey Betts

Guitarist, singer, songwriter and composer

Net worth: $10 Million

Dickey Betts is an American singer-songwriter known as a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, who continued a solo career for decades beyond.

Birth Name: Forrest Richard Betts

Birth Date: Dec. 12, 1943

Birth Place: West Palm Beach, Fla.

Spouse: Donna Betts

Children: Kimberly, Christy, Jessica, and Duane Betts

Death: April 18, 2024

Despite Dickey's on-and-off relationship with the Allman Brothers, who he played with again in the 1990s, Dickey continuously played live music and wrote new records up until his 2018 retirement. He was even inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, and in 1996, he won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance with “Jessica.” Although he leaves behind a great legacy, he also leaves behind an impressive net worth.

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