Dan McCafferty, original lead singer of the Scottish hard rock band Nazareth, has died at the age of 76.

Longtime Nazareth bassist Pete Agnew announced the news on the band's Facebook account. "Dan died at 12:40 today," he wrote. "This is the saddest announcement I ever had to make. Maryann and the family have lost a wonderful loving husband and father, I have lost my best friend and the world has lost one of the greatest singers who ever lived. Too upset to say anything more at this time."

McCafferty was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, in 1946. It was there that he and Agnew founded Nazareth in 1968 with guitarist Manny Charlton and drummer Darrell Sweet. The band's self-titled debut album, released in 1971, failed to chart, as did its successor, 1972's Exercises. Nazareth's first taste of success came with 1973's Razamanaz, which peaked at No. 11 on the U.K. singles chart and pierced the lower realm of the Billboard 200, peaking at No. 157.

Nazareth's next two albums, 1973's Loud 'n' Proud and 1974's Rampant, performed similarly well. But the rockers' true international breakthrough came with 1975's Hair of the Dog, which reached the Top 20 of the Billboard 200 and spawned a Top 10 hit on the Hot 100 with a cover of the Everly Brothers' "Love Hurts." The rest of the album became a cornerstone of '70s hard rock, particularly its title track, which Guns N' Roses covered on 1993's "The Spaghetti Incident?" (Charlton, who died in July, also produced some of GNR's earliest demos.)

Although Nazareth never matched the success of Hair of the Dog, they remained a favorite of hard-rock fans and fellow musicians. McCafferty's bluesy, raspy wail — like a cross between Rod Stewart and Brian Johnson — was a common denominator across the band's catalog.

McCafferty announced his retirement from the group in 2013, citing a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that restricted his ability to breathe. Nazareth's 23rd album, 2014's Rock 'n' Roll Telephone, marked his swan song with the band.

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