Shannon Williams was the seventh wife for Gregg Allman, but the rock legend said the woman 40 years his junior was the only true love of is life.
Allman died on Saturday from complications of liver cancer. The founding member of the influential Allman Brothers Band was famous for his many high-profile relationships, including a marriage to singer Cher, but it was the 29-year-old Shannon Williams who he said was the only woman he truly considered his wife.
Allman was “surrounded by his family and friends” at his passing, longtime manager and friend Michael Lehman told CNN. There was no immediate statement from either Allman’s family or wife.
After Allman’s death on Saturday, many from across the music world spoke out to remember the legendary rocker. Cher posted her own heartfelt tribute to her onetime husband.
“I’ve tried… words are impossible,” she wrote.
Greg Allman and Cher had one child together, a son named Elijah Blue. Allman had four other children, and all but one of them followed his footsteps into the music business.
For Gregg Allman, music had been a love from his youth. In his autobiography, Allman wrote that he aimed for an appeal that crossed generations.
“When I was a kid, I didn’t listen to Tommy Dorsey,” he wrote in a clip posted in the New York Times. “There was a generational line drawn when it came to music. Kids today love Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead — all kinds of good music. They love the Allman Brothers. There’s that old saying, ‘Fun for ages 6 to 60,’ and by God, that’s what our audience is.”
And Allman kept his love of performing to the end.
“My love of playing is still the same as when I was 24. In fact, I appreciate it all more and understand it much better,” Allman told the Wall Street Journal in 2015. “I’m grateful for every gold record, good review and award I’ve ever received, but I’m just so into what I’m doing and that’s where my focus is.”
For all the attention on his music, Allman was also famous for his relationships. He had also been married to Shelley Kay Winters, singer Julie Bindas, Danielle J P Galiana, and Stacey Fountain.
But when Gregg Allman revealed his engagement to Shannon Williams in 2012 — at a time when she was just 24 years old — he said that she was his only true love.
“This time I’m really in love,” Allman said in an interview on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight (via the Daily Mail).
When Morgan asked Gregg Allman how Shannon Williams felt about becoming “wife number seven,” Allman corrected him.
“That’s not what she’s becoming,” Allman said. “She’s becoming wife number one. I don’t have a wife, I haven’t had one for years.”
There had been rumors in the past few years that Gregg Allman and Shannon Williams had called off their engagement, but a story from Rolling Stone in summer 2016 showed the couple taking a stroll in New York City.
“Gregg Allman hit the town in New York with his fiancee of four years, Shannon Williams. ‘I love going there and wandering around all the different neighborhoods,’ says Allman, who is on tour this summer with his traveling Laid Back Festival, featuring ZZ Top. ‘Add my beautiful gal to that picture? Good livin’.'”
In obituaries posted on Saturday, Shannon Williams was identified as Gregg Allman’s wife, but it was not immediately clear when the two were married. The two lived near Savannah, Georgia, in a home with their two dogs, a Yorkipoo named Otis and a miniature poodle named Maggie.
[Featured Image by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Skyville]