LONDON — Jon Lord, keyboardist with legendary British rock band Deep Purple and co-author of their most famous hit Smoke On The Water has died aged 71, his family announced on Monday.
Lord, who also played with Whitesnake, died at the London Clinic on Monday, surrounded by family, a statement said. “Jon passes from Darkness to Light,” it added.
The former keyboardist had been battling with pancreatic cancer since last August.
Ex-Rage Against the Machine star Tom Morello wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter: “RIP the great Jon Lord, Deep Purple’s cornerstone/keyboardist. So many great great songs and that incredible SOUND of his! Thankyou.”
Friend Rick Wakeman, former keyboardist with fellow prog-rockers Yes, said he was “a great fan”.
“We were going to write and record an album before he become ill,” he said.
“His contribution to music and to classic rock was immeasurable and I will miss him terribly.”