REO Speedwagon Guitarist Gary Richrath Dies at 65

Former Band Member Co-Wrote "Take It on the Run," "Ridin’ the Storm Out"

Former REO Speedwagon guitarist Gary Richrath, who co-wrote “Take It on the Run,” died Sunday (Sept. 13) at age 65, lead vocalist Kevin Cronin announced on the band’s website and via social media.

No additional details have been confirmed by the band or its publicist.

“Gary was both a unique guitarist and songwriter and the embodiment of the tough guy with a heart of gold,” Cronin wrote. “I learned most of what I know about being in a rock band from Gary Richrath. The entire REO Family mourns his death and shares in the grief of his family, friends and fans. These words do not come close to expressing the depth of emotions I am feeling at this time.”

Formed in Illinois in 1967, Richrath joined REO Speedwagon in 1970 prior to releasing their self-titled debut album.

In addition to “Take It on the Run,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1981, Richrath co-wrote multiple songs on the band’s albums, including the 1973 hit, “Ridin’ the Storm Out.”

He left REO Speedwagon in 1989 but reunited with the band in 2013 for a benefit concert to raise money for tornado victims in central Illinois.

The current lineup of REO Speedwagon teamed with Sara Evans for a new episode of CMT Crossroads premiering Saturday (Sept. 19) at 10 p.m. ET/PT.