Ben H. Dorcy III -- known as the "King of the Roadies" during his 50-plus career as Willie Nelson's right hand man -- has died at age 92. Nelson's sons Lukas and Micah, who regularly tour with their father, confirmed the news Saturday afternoon on social media.
Born on May 19, 1925, in Dallas, Texas, Dorcy made news in 2015 when the Nelson family began a Kickstarter campaign in support of a documentary film about his life, King of the Roadies. The film is reportedly in post-production as of August 2017.
With his signature pipe, long white hair, cowboy hat and Texas flag shirts, Dorcy was a regular fixture with Nelson's band, often visible to fans watching Nelson's performances just offstage.
Friends called him "Lovey," a nickname inspired by his "heart as big as Texas."
Raised in San Antonio, Dorcy's career in show business began as a skater in the Ice Capades, according to a biography on the King of the Roadies website. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1943 and served for three years before returning first to Hollywood, where he became an assistant to Nudie Rodeo Taylor. It was through Taylor that Dorcy met cowboy film icon John Wayne, for whom Dorcy worked as gardener and chauffeur, the biography says.
Back in Texas, Dorcy began working as a roadie for country legend Ray Price. It was then that he met Nelson, who was playing bass guitar for Price, at the famous John T. Floore's Country Store in Helotes.
The pair hit it off, and when Nelson's solo star began to rise, "he took Ben with him," according to the bio.
Nelson speculates in the trailer for King of the Roadies that Dorcy might have even been the world's first roadie. Over the years, Dorcy worked with superstars like Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Jerry Jeff Walker, Merle Haggard and more.
In 2013, Floore's Country Store began an annual Ben Dorcy Day celebration, held each year in February.
Nelson's son Micah (who also performs under the name Particle Kid) shared a painting of Dorcy.