Tommy Allsup, Guitarist Who Avoided Buddy Holly Plane Crash, Dies at 85

American rock musician Buddy Holly (1936 - 1959, right) performing on stage with his band The Crickets, 1950s.
Archive Photos/Getty Images

Buddy Holly performing on stage with his band The Crickets, 1950s. 

Tommy Allsup, a guitarist best known for losing a coin toss that kept him off a plane that later crashed and killed rock 'n' roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, has died. He was 85.

Singer and musician Austin Allsup -- who competed on NBC's The Voice in 2016 -- says his father died Wednesday at a hospital in Springfield, Missouri, due to complications from a hernia operation.

Tommy Allsup was part of Holly's band when the Lubbock, Texas, singer died in the 1959 plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa. Allsup flipped a coin to see if he or Valens would get a seat on the plane.

Austin Allsup said Thursday his father took losing the coin toss as a blessing and "knew that he was very lucky to be here."


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