Eagles’ co-founnder Glenn Frey, pictured performing in 2010, died in New York after battling multiple ailments. (Ralph Freso/AP)

Eagles’ co-founnder Glenn Frey, pictured performing in 2010, died in New York after battling multiple ailments. (Ralph Freso/AP)

Scoop: Eagles’ Glenn Frey checks out, but won’t leave fans’ hearts

There’s definitely a heartache tonight.

Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey, who, with Don Henley, became one of rock’s most successful songwriting teams with hits such as as “Hotel California” and “Life in the Fast Lane,” died Monday in New York at age 67. The band’s website said he succumbed to rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia.

Guitarist Frey and drummer Henley formed the Eagles in Los Angeles in the early 1970s, with guitarist Bernie Leadon and bassist Randy Meisner. Over the next decade, they came to embody the melodic California sound.

The band’s greatest hits collection from the mid-1970s and “Hotel California” are among the best-selling albums in history.

Frey was born in Detroit and was raised in its suburbs. His solo hits include “The Heat Is On” and “Smuggler’s Blues.”

Frey was lead vocalist on the Eagles’ breakthrough hit, “Take It Easy,” a song mostly written by Jackson Browne. His other showcases included “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” ‘’Already Gone” and “New Kid in Town.”

The Eagles split up in 1980 but reunited in 1994 and were one of the world’s most popular concert acts. The band, which for years was made up of Frey, Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit, was supposed to have been honored at the Kennedy Center last month. But the appearance was postponed because of Frey’s health problems.

“He was like a brother to me; we were family, and like most families, there was some dysfunction. But, the bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken, even during the 14 years that the Eagles were dissolved. We were two young men who made the pilgrimage to Los Angeles with the same dream: to make our mark in the music industry — and with perseverance, a deep love of music, our alliance with other great musicians and our manager, Irving Azoff, we built something that has lasted longer than anyone could have dreamed,” Henley said in a statement.

“But, Glenn was the one who started it all. He was the spark plug, the man with the plan. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music and a work ethic that wouldn’t quit. He was funny, bullheaded, mercurial, generous, deeply talented and driven. He loved his wife and kids more than anything.

“We are all in a state of shock, disbelief and profound sorrow. We brought our two-year ‘History of the Eagles Tour’ to a triumphant close at the end of July and now he is gone. I’m not sure I believe in fate, but I know that crossing paths with Glenn Lewis Frey in 1970 changed my life forever, and it eventually had an impact on the lives of millions of other people all over the planet.”

QUICK TAKES

Christian Bale has left the role of iconic car maker Enzo Ferrari in a highly anticipated biopic from director Michael Mann, citing an unwillingness to put on weight, according to the Hollywood Reporter. … Spanish language newsmagazine “Al Rojo Vivo” with María Celeste Arrarás is airing an exclusive interview today with Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutiérrez, and TV host Steve Harvey, speaking for the first time on Hispanic media about the Miss Universe shenanigans on Dec. 20.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Gymnast Shawn Johnson ia 24. .. Actress Drea de Matteo is 44. … Actor Shawn Wayans is 45. … Actress Katey Sagal is 62. … Chef Paula Deen is 69. … Singer Dolly Parton is 70. … Actress Shelley Fabares is 72. … Actor-singer Michael Crawford is 74. … Actress Tippi Hedren is 86.

— Staff, wire reports

Got scoops or Bay Area celebrity gossip? Email scoop@sfexaminer.com.

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