"Our dear bandmate, Joe Long, has passed away. We send our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fans," former bandmates Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio wrote in a statement

By Darlene Aderoju
April 22, 2021 03:00 PM
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Joe Long
Joe Long
| Credit: Bobby Bank/Getty

Joe Long, the former bassist of the iconic Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, has died. He was 79.

Long, born né Joseph Louis LaBracio, died on Wednesday of COVID-19, NJ.com reports. Former Four Seasons member Tommy DeVito also died of COVID-19 related complications last September.

Long's former bandmates Valli, 86, and Bob Gaudio, 78, confirmed the news in a statement they jointly shared on Facebook.

Early Wednesday, the two hitmakers wrote of their beloved friend, "It is with great sadness that we learned that our dear bandmate, Joe Long, has passed away. We send our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fans."

"We will miss Joe," they concluded.

Several Facebook users responded and sent well wishes, with some sharing photos that were taken alongside Long during his years as a performer.

The heartfelt message from Valli and Gaudio was accompanied with a series of photos, including one solo snapshot of Long in which he was playing his guitar during a previous performance as a young man.

Joe Long the Four Seasons
Joe Long
| Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty

Also on social media, the official Twitter account for the Jersey Boys musical (formerly on Broadway) issued a statement expressing similar sentiments for the late star.

"Joe Long, a true Jersey boy and bassist with the Four Seasons, has passed away," the statement began. "The #JerseyBoys family sends our condolences to his family and friends, and our thanks to Joe for all the music. "

Elizabeth, New Jersey Mayor Chris Bollwage also issued a statement in recognition of Long.

He wrote on Twitter alongside a series of photos, "I was truly sad to hear of the passing of Joe Long, longtime Elizabeth resident & respected member of the Four Seasons. In 2014, we honored Joe at a street dedication ceremony on High Street, where he grew up, for his local ties as well as the legendary part he played in music."

The Four Seasons
The Four Seasons
| Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty

Bollwage continued in a separate tweet, "He had an illustrious career and his role in musical history will continue to serve as an inspiration to all. On behalf of the City of Elizabeth, I would like to give our condolences to his family and friends."

Born Sept. 5, 1941 in Elizabeth, New Jersey — Long was an artist who formally studied and trained in classical music, but after he reportedly suffered a hand injury, the musician transitioned from playing classical bass to the Fender bass guitar.

Soon after, he developed a keen interest in rock and roll music and became a bass player for several bands in his native New Jersey before he officially joined The Four Seasons in 1965, he continued releasing hit records with the group and departed from the band in the mid-'70s. He went on to form his own rock group, LaBracio (dubbed after his birth last name) and later established Jersey Bounce, a jazz band.

The Four Seasons released several fan-favorite, Billboard chart-topping hits including "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Sherry" and "Walk Like a Man."