Thousands of fans, and dozens of family and friends gathered in Macon Saturday afternoon to bid a final farewell to southern rock legend Gregg Allman.
Beginning at 6 a.m., fans began lining the roads from Snow’s Memorial Chapel to Rose Hill Cemetery – the final resting place of both Gregg and Duane Allman.
Some of the fans drove from as far as the south side of Chicago to say goodbye.
“I decided early in the week when I knew the funeral arrangements were made and that we could make a presence here without disturbing the family…I hit the road right from work. It was 1:07 p.m. when I pulled out of Chicago, I pulled into Macon at 4 a.m. with the time change,” said Kathleen Acuri.
Acuri was just one of the thousands of people with an emotional connection to the band’s lyrics.
After a half-hour funeral service at Snow’s, the waiting came to a close.
Allman was escorted into Rose Hill where a brief burial service took place. Fans were able to see the service from the hillside.
When band members were in Macon, they used to hang out in Rose Hill Cemetery, where they wrote songs, Alan Paul wrote in the book One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band.
“He’s somebody who has been in my life first as an artist and later as a real person since I was about 8 years old, and so it’s shocking to think of the world without him,” said Paul, 50, who interviewed Allman many times for the book.
Allman, who blazed a trail for many southern rock groups, died May 27 at his home near Savannah, Ga., said Michael Lehman, the rock star’s manager. He was 69. Lehman blamed liver cancer for Allman’s death.
Born in Nashville, Tenn., Allman was raised in Florida by a single mother. Allman idolized his older brother, Duane, eventually joining a series of bands with him. Together they formed the heart of The Allman Brothers Band.
The artist had battled health issues for the past several years, according to a statement from the Big House, the Macon museum dedicated to The Allman Brothers Band.
During that time, the museum said, Allman felt that being on the road playing music for his fans was “essential medicine for his soul.”
Lehman said he spoke with Allman the night before he died. “He said the last few days he was just, you know, tired,” Lehman said.
The night before he passed away, Allman was able to listen to some of the tracks being produced for his final record, Southern Blood, Lehman said. The album is scheduled to be released in the fall.
“He was looking forward to sharing it with the world and that dream is going to be realized,” Lehman said. “I told him that his legacy is going to be protected, and the gift that he gave to the music world will continue to live on forever.”