Founding Deep Purple Keyboardist Jon Lord Dead at 71
(LONDON) -- Founding Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord died Monday at a clinic in London after suffering a pulmonary embolism. The 71-year-old musician, who played with the pioneering hard-rock group from 1967 to 2002, had been battling pancreatic cancer since last year. According to a message on his official website, he was surrounded by family members at the time of his death.
Lord co-wrote many of Deep Purple's classic tunes, including "Smoke on the Water," "Highway Star" and "Woman from Tokyo." A classically trained musician, he brought his passion for orchestral and baroque music into the group. The band's 1970 release Concerto for Group and Orchestra is considered one of the earliest works offering a fusion of hard rock and classical music.
In addition to his years with Deep Purple, Lord also had a tenure with Whitesnake from 1978 to 1984. After retiring from Deep Purple in 2002, Lord focused on composing and performing orchestral music. Shortly before his death, he contributed to an album by the supergroup WhoCares, which also features longtime Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted and Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain.
A number of rock musicians have taken to Twitter to express their sadness over Lord's death. Here are some comments from a few of those artists:
Toto guitarist Steve Lukather: "My heartfelt RIP to Jon Lord. A massive influence of all musicians of my generation and beyond..."
Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello: "RIP the great Jon Lord, Deep Purple's cornerstone/keyboardist. So many great great songs and that incredible SOUND of his! Thankyou."
Chickenfoot's Joe Satriani, who played guitar with Deep Purple during 1993 and '94: "R.I.P. Jon Lord."
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