Brit Turner, drummer for country-rock outfit Blackberry Smoke, died on Sunday (March 3), according to a social media post from the band. He was 57 years old.

In fall 2022, Turner was diagnosed with glioblastoma, which is a fast-growing form of brain cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic. He underwent surgery to fight the cancer that November. There is currently no cure for glioblastoma, though treatments can slow the growth of the cancer and help relieve symptoms such as headaches, nausea and vomiting, seizures and blurred or double vision.

Turner co-founded Blackberry Smoke in Atlanta, Ga. in 2000, and in their statement announcing his death, the band described him as their "True North" and the "compass" that guided and will continued to guide their musical direction.

"It is with the deepest sorrow that we inform everyone that our brother Brit Turner has moved on from this life," the statement reads. "If you had the privilege of knowing Brit on any level, you know he was the most caring, empathetic, driven and endearing person one could ever hope to meet.

"...We ask for prayers for his family and band brothers," the statement goes on to say. "More information on arrangements will be forthcoming. Thank you to everyone who has supported and been there for Brit and his family during this fight."

Who Was Brit Turner?

Born in Michigan and raised in Smyrna, Ga., Turner's first musical love was hard rock and heavy metal, according to Rolling Stone. He and his bassist brother Richard Turner formed a thrash metal band in 1988, but eventually they moved back towards a Southern rock, country-informed sound.

The two brothers ultimately formed Blackberry Smoke with singer and guitarist Charlie Starr and guitarist Paul Jackson. Brandon Still would join the band on keyboards not long after.In 2018, two more members -- Benji Shanks on guitar and Preston Holcomb on percussion -- joined the lineup.

In 2015, Blackberry Smoke's Holding All the Roses album became the first from a small, independent band to ever reach the No. 1 spot on Billboard Country Albums chart without the support of a major record label.

In addition to his musical family, Turner is survived by his wife Shannon and a daughter named Lana. Lana herself is a cancer survivor: At age three, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma. Since then, she has recovered from her illness. The experience inspired Turner and Blackberry Smoke to raise money to fight various elements of pediatric cancer, fundraising for organizations such as the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

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Gallery Credit: Carena Liptak

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