Ralph Ezell, the bass player for country band Shenandoah, died Nov. 30 in South Dakota of an apparent heart attack. He was 54.

"We will all miss him deeply," the band's Mike McGuire said in a prepared statement. "We are proud to have called him our friend."

Born June 26, 1953 in Union, Miss., Ezell joined with drummer McGuire, guitarist Jim Seales, keyboard player Stan Thorn and lead vocalist Marty Raybon to form the Muscle Shoals, Ala.-based band in 1985.

They went on to score five No. 1 singles and 15 Top 10s on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart while recording for the Nashville divisions of Columbia, RCA and Capitol.

Ezell and Raybon exited the group in 1996, but Ezell returned a few years later.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.