By Ariana Bacle
Updated September 14, 2015 at 04:44 PM EDT
Beth Gwinn/Redferns

Gary Richrath, REO Speedwagon’s one-time guitarist and songwriter, died Monday, the band confirmed on social media and their official website Monday morning. He was 65.

Frontman Kevin Cronin remembered Richrath in a note on their website, where he wrote, “Gary was both a unique guitarist and songwriter, and the embodiment of the tough guy with a heart of gold. 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.”

Richrath played guitar and wrote songs, including 1981’s “Take it on the Run,” with REO Speedwagon beginning in 1970 before he left in 1989 to pursue a solo career. He went on to make one solo record, 1992’s Only the Strong Survive, and occasionally reunited with REO for performances up until his death.

See Cronin’s tweet announcing Richrath’s death, which includes an old photo of the two of them performing, below.