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Widespread Panic founding drummer Nance dead at 57

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

By Joe Johnson

Todd Nance, founding drummer of Widespread Panic, died Wednesday morning at the age of 57, his family announced on the band’s Facebook page.

According to the family’s statement, Nance passed away in Athens “from sudden and unexpectedly severe complications of a chronic illness.”

Nance left the band in 2016.

“With heavy hearts and loving memories we say goodbye to our Brother Todd Alton Nance,” reads an additional Facebook message from his former bandmates. “Widespread Panic was born the night of Todd’s first show… For thirty 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. Funny, adventurous, and a very kind soul, we wish Todd and his family peace during the sad time after so many happy times. Safe travels, Brother Todd.”

According to his Wikipedia page, Nance was born in Chattanooga, Tenn. He received his first drum kit for Christmas at age of 13 and formed a high school garage band with guitarist and songwriter Michael House.

The pair reconnected in 1986, after Nance moved to Atlanta, and they along with John Bell and Dave Schools subsequently formed Widespread Panic, which developed a dedicated local following in Athens before the band became nationally known.

Over the next decade, the band rapidly grew beyond their Athens roots and Nance would provide the backbeat for some of WSP’s most legendary shows.

Most notably, he was present for WSP’s 1998 hometown celebration in Athens, which drew a crowd of over 100,000. That show was immortalized in the live record Panic in the Streets.

He also logged time in the Widespread Panic offshoot brute. from 1995 to 2002, the same year that Houser died.

Due to personal struggles – and following a 2014 hiatus – Nance and WSP officially split ways in 2016. He was replaced with current drummer Duane Trucks.

“Basically, I had 31 great years touring with the band,” Nance told at the time of his departure. “I wouldn’t trade that for anything. But, things do change as time goes on.”

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