Widespread Panic Co-Founder Todd Nance Dies at 57

Friends, family and fellow musicians mourn the passing of a band's patriarch

August 19, 2020

Todd Nance, the iconic drummer and co-founder of Widespread Panic, has died at the age of 57. The band announced Nance’s passing, posting a letter from the late drummer’s family on Facebook.

“It is with great sadness that we announce that Todd Nance, a founding member of Widespread Panic, passed away early this morning in Athens, GA from sudden and unexpectedly severe complications of a chronic illness,” the family said.

Nance was an early axis for the band’s humble 1986 beginning in Athens, Georgia. The group expanded their jam band sensibility to a national stage, garnering comparisons to The Grateful Dead and Phish. Todd’s energy and percussion flow helped catapult the group to their apex in 1998, performing to a crowd of nearly 100,000 people in the streets of Athens. That show would produce the classic album “Panic in the Streets.”

The band wrote in a statement, “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."

As Todd continued to struggle with chronic illness throughout his adult life, reign behind the band’s sticks became untenable, leading to his 2014 departure. He was replaced by Duane Trucks. “Funny, adventurous, and a very kind Soul, we wish Todd and his Family peace during this sad time after so many happy times.”

Artists that knew the drummer have chimed in with condolences on social media. North Mississippi Allstars’ Cody Dickinson lamented the loss of his friend, posting a picture with him on Instagram. “Of all the drummers who have shown me so much love and support all these years, he was the guy who would say, ‘come on Cody, play drums during my solo. Or washboard. Whatever you want.’ Who does that??” he wrote in the caption. “Todd Nance. That’s who.”

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