Gregg Allman was surrounded by death

Death stalked the Allman family

Header photo: Gregg (left) and Duane Allman

Death stalked the Allman family.

It began on December 26, 1949, in Norfolk, Virginia. Gregg’s father Willis Allman was a Second Lieutenant at Fort Story, a military base in Virginia. He and a fellow officer, Lt. Robert Buchanan, offered to drive a stranger home from a bar.

Driving along in the car the man pulled a gun and ordered them to stop the car and get out. He marched them into a field. Willis Allman made a grab for the gun as Buchanan ran for help. As he ran toward a farmhouse he heard two shots.

Death stalked the Allman family
Lt. Willis Allman

Willis had been shot dead and robbed of $4.85. He was 31. A 26-year-old man was later arrested and charged with murder.


Gregg’s older brother Duane was killed in a motorcycle crash on October 29, 1971, in Macon, Georgia, at the age of 24.

Duane was riding his Harley Sportster at high speed and approaching an intersection when a flatbed truck stopped suddenly in the intersection. Duane swerved sharply to the left to avoid a collision but struck the back of the truck and was thrown from the motorcycle.

The Harley reportedly “bounced into the air, landed on Allman and skidded another 90 feet with Duane pinned underneath.” He was alive when he was taken to a hospital and underwent emergency surgery. He died several hours later from massive internal injuries.


Death stalked the Allman family
Berry Oakley crash site.

In a grim coincidence, a year later, on November 11, 1972, Allman Brothers Band member Berry Oakley died after crashing his motorcycle just three blocks from where Duane was killed.

He also was still alive when he was rushed into emergency surgery at a nearby hospital, but died of his injuries several hours later. Berry was also 24.

Berry Oakley

Before Duane’s death, the band was riding the high and lows of sudden success and wealth. Each of them struggled with heavy addictions to heroin and cocaine.

They all made a pact to quit heroin, but cocaine kept running around in their brain, to paraphrase Jackson Browne’s ‘Cocaine, runnin’ all ’round my brain…’

Death stalked the Allman family
The Allman Brothers Band


Gregg never forgave himself for the last time he and Duane talked — or rather, argued over cocaine. Gregg had taken some of his brother’s supply, but when Duane confronted him about it, Gregg lied and said he never took any.

In his memoir, ‘My Cross to Bear,’ Gregg wrote: “I have thought of that lie every day of my life. I told him that lie, and he told me that he was sorry and that he loved me.”


“When I got over being angry, I prayed to him to forgive me. Not that I got over it. I don’t know what getting over it means. I don’t stand around crying anymore, but I think about him every day of my life. I talk to my brother in the morning, and he answers me at night. I’ve opened myself to his death and accepted it, and I think that’s the grieving process at work.”

Gregg battled several health issues during the last years of his life. In 2007, he was diagnosed with hepatitis C which he said he got from a dirty tattoo needle. The following year three tumors were discovered in his liver and he went on a waiting list for a transplant, undergoing a successful transplant in 2010.


On the 45th anniversary of Duane’s death, Gregg cancelled a concert because of “serious health issues.” 

He died at his home in Richmond Hill, Georgia, on May 27, 2017, due to complications from liver cancer. Among the hundreds of mourners at his funeral were once-estranged bandmate Dickey Betts, his ex-wife Cher (one of seven), and former President Jimmy Carter. Most of the mourners wore blue jeans as Gregg had requested.

Gregg Allman was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, beside his brother Duane, and fellow band member Berry Oakley.

The Allman Brothers Band perform ‘One Way Out’ at Fillmore East in New York in 1971.

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She died young — and by her own lovely hand

Drugs and depression claim the young lives of adult film stars

On July 11, 1994, one of the most famous and beautiful adult movie stars of the early 1990s shot herself in the head. She was 23.

Savannah — her real name was Shannon Michelle Wilsey — starred in over 100 videos and in 1992 was named Adult Video News’s Best New Starlet. She was ranked No. 19 of the adult film industry’s top 50 porn stars of all time.


Savannah, a heavy drug user, had relationships with Gregg Allman, who she started dating when she was 16, comedian Pauly Shore, singer Billy Idol, Mötley Crüe lead singer Vince Neil, actor Mark Wahlberg, Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth, Mr Big bassist Billy Sheehan and Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash.

Female porn star suicides
I’m kind of on the wild side.
I don’t think I ever went out
with anybody with short hair.

Shortly before her death, Savannah was driving home from a party with a friend, Jason Swing, when she crashed her Corvette into a fence and broke her nose. The couple made their way to Savannah’s house in Universal City, Calif., where she asked Jason to walk her dog. Savannah then called her manager Nancy Pera and asked her to come over. And then she went into the garage and pulled the trigger.

When Nancy Pera arrived at the house Savannah was still alive, but barely. She was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank and was put on life support. Eleven hours later her father made the decision to shut it down. Pauly Shore was at her bedside.
Savannah’s boyfriend
Pauly Shore

Friends, family and adult film associates attended her funeral. Shore was the only ex-boyfriend there. “She was the nicest, most beautiful girl I ever met.”

Shore said she killed herself because “she forgot who Shannon was” and became her drug-addicted film persona. “I knew she wanted out of the porn business.”



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January Seraph

January Seraph, who was described as “the sweetest person in the world,” hanged herself in 2018 in her San Francisco apartment at the age of 31.

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Olivia Voltaire (aka Olivia Lua)

Olivia (Lua) Voltaire died in 2018 in West Hollywood of a drug-and-alcohol overdose when she was 23.

August Ames

A native of Nova Scotia, August Ames hanged herself in December 2017 in Camarillo, California, after being bullied online about her profession. She was 23.

Alyssa Funke

University of Wisconsin student Alyssa Funke killed herself in 2014 at the age of 19 to escape being bullied by fellow students over her adult film roles.

Clarissa Doll

Ex-Budweiser girl Clarissa Doll committed suicide in Las Vegas in 2006 at the age of 26.

Angela Devi

Originally from a Punjabi family, Angela Devi asphyxiated herself with a plastic bag in 2006 in her home in Scottsdale, Arizona. She was 30.

Naughtier Childs

Naughtier Childs was 22 when she jumped to her death from her fourth-floor apartment balcony in Hollywood in 2002.

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Alex Jordan

Alex Jordan hanged herself in 1995 in her Marina Del Rey, California apartment at the age of 31.

Kelly Van Dyke

The daughter of Jerry Van Dyke, the star of the TV show ‘Coach,’ Kelly Van Dyke killed herself in 1991. She was 33.

Megan Leigh

Megan Leigh was 26 when she shot herself in the head in 1990 in Solano County, California.

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Shauna Grant

A sweetheart from the Midwest, Shauna Grant shot herself with a semiautomatic .22 caliber rifle in 1984 in Palm Springs, California. She was only 20 years old.


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