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Marshall Tucker Band's Namesake Marshall Tucker Dead at 99 as Group Says He Was 'Very Special to Our Hearts'

Marshall Tucker Band's Namesake Marshall Tucker Dead at 99 as Group Says He Was 'Very Special to Our Hearts'

The South Carolina piano tuner after whom the Southern rockers of the Marshall Tucker Band named their group has died. He was 99.

Though he never played in the Marshall Tucker Band, Tucker, who died on Jan. 20, was an important part of the rockers' history.

"We are saddened to hear of the passing of someone very special to our hearts, for very obvious reasons," the band wrote in a statement on Facebook. "Though he was never a member of our band, we wouldn't be here today without his historic name."

The "Can't You See" singers explained that they first stumbled upon Tucker's name on a keychain while rehearsing in an old warehouse in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

"We needed a name asap… and the rest is history! Marshall was blind since birth but amazingly could play the heck out of the piano," the statement continued. "He always said his talent was simply God-given. He tuned pianos in South Carolina for decades. We are thankful for Mr. Marshall Tucker and the life he lived! Sending blessings to his wife and family."

Lead singer Doug Gray relayed the keychain story to PEOPLE in 2021, and said the fateful practice session took place in February 1972. He said the group was scheduled to open for the Allman Brothers and still didn't have a name when they spotted the keychain dangling from the key that opened the warehouse.

RELATED: Marshall Tucker Band on Their 50-Year Climb From a Name on a Key Chain to Southern Rock Architects

Marshall Tucker Band
Marshall Tucker Band

Mariah Gray Marshall Tucker Band

Original drummer Paul Riddle told WHNS that the band did get Tucker's blessing before naming themselves after him.

According to his obituary, Tucker was born in Givhans, South Carolina, and worked for Rice Music House in Spartanburg before leaving to tune pianos on his own.

He was also a choir member and Sunday School teacher. Tucker is survived by Lois, his wife of 50 years, plus two daughters, three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.