Ray Deaton, a former bassist and bass singer for Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and a co-founder of IIIrd Tyme Out, has died. The bluegrass musician passed away on Tuesday (June 4), at the age of 66.

Per John Lawless of Bluegrass Today, Deaton suffered over the past 10 years from cardiomyopathy and other heart ailments. The artist had been in and out of ICU in recent months, dropping to just 110 pounds.

Deaton’s talent with a stand-up bass and his deep vocal delivery left their mark on multiple acts, especially when those bands thumbed through the bluegrass-gospel songbook. As the news hit bluegrass circles, friends and family used Facebook to post tributes to a true roots music lifer.

“It saddens me to say I lost my dad today,” writes Christy Deaton Stocks, Deaton's daughter. “I will cherish the happy memories and know that he isn’t sick anymore. He was an amazing musician, and the bluegrass community has shown great support already. I’m happy that I was able to have a joyful happy conversation with him the last time we spoke. Please keep my family in your prayers.”

Chris Davis, a well-traveled mandolin player for Diamond Rio, the Grascals and other acts, also revealed his own indebtedness to Deaton: “Ray Deaton helped me get the first good mandolin I ever owned,” he reveals. “He nailed down an endorsement through Gibson mandolins. To say I was excited would have been an understatement. I remember so clearly.”

Deaton remained with IIIrd Tyme Out from the band's start in 1991 until early 2007. He then played with the Anita Fisher Band before his health troubles sidelined him.

There is no word yet on funeral arrangements for Deaton.

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