Robbie Robertson, The Band’s lead guitarist and songwriter who in such classics as “The Weight,” “Up on Cripple Creek” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” mined and helped reshape American music, has died at 80.

Robertson died surrounded by family, a statement from his manager said.From their years as Bob Dylan’s masterful backing group to their own stardom as embodiments of old-fashioned community and virtuosity, The Band profoundly influenced popular music in the 1960s and ’70s, first by literally amplifying Dylan’s polarizing transition from folk artist to rock star and then by absorbing the works of Dylan and Dylan’s influences as they fashioned a new sound immersed in the American past.The Canadian-born Robertson was a high school dropout and one-man melting pot — part-Jewish, part-Mohawk and Cayuga — who fell in love with the seemingly limitless sounds and byways of his adopted country and wrote out of a sense of amazement and discovery at a time when the Vietnam War had alienated millions of young Americans. His life had a “Candide”-like quality as he found himself among many of the giants of the rock era — getting guitar tips from Buddy Holly, taking in early performances by Aretha Franklin and by the Velvet Underground, smoking pot with the Beatles, watching the songwriting team of Leiber and Stoller develop material, chatting with Jimi Hendrix when he was a struggling musician calling himself Jimmy James.The Band began as supporting players for rockabilly star Ronnie Hawkins in the early 1960s and through their years together in bars and juke joints forged a depth and versatility that opened them to virtually any kind of music in any kind of setting.