Rick Danko, 56, who went from Bob Dylan's backup band to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a bassist and singer with The Band, died Dec. 10 at his home in Marbletown, N.Y. The cause of death was unknown pending an autopsy by the local medical examiner.
Original members of The Band -- Mr. Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Robbie Robertson and the late Richard Manuel -- were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
Born into a musical family in Simcoe, Ontario, Mr. Danko quit school at 14 to play in rock-and-roll bands. At 17, he joined Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, whose members included the musicians who would later become The Band.
The group spent the early 1960s touring the bar and club circuit in Canada and the South. After splitting up with Hawkins in the mid-'60s, Mr. Danko and his band mates played backup for Bob Dylan after the folk musician unveiled his electric sound that launched the folk-rock era.
During the Dylan years, Mr. Danko rented a pink house in West Saugerties, near Woodstock. The group's debut album as The Band -- "Music From Big Pink" -- was recorded there and became a hit after its 1968 release.
Vocals by Mr. Danko, Helm and Manuel contributed to The Band's unique sound, and Mr. Danko sang on the group's signature songs such as "The Weight," "Up On Cripple Creek" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."
The Band went on to play musical festivals, including the original Woodstock in Bethel in 1969. The group split up after its famous "Last Waltz" concert in 1976, which was the subject of a documentary by director Martin Scorsese.
After that, Mr. Danko went on to a solo career. The Band stayed retired until 1983, when all the original members except Robertson began to tour again. Three years later, Manuel hanged himself in a Winter Park, Fla., hotel room.
In recent years Mr. Danko, Helm and Hudson reformed The Band at various times.
Two years ago this week, Mr. Danko was found guilty of smuggling heroin into Japan. He received a suspended sentence.
He released an album, "Live on Breeze Hill," in September.
Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth Danko, and two children. A son died in 1989.