Longtime Bruce Springsteen friend, collaborator, and E. Street Band member Clarence Clemons has passed away at the age of 69 after suffering a stroke on June 12. Rolling Stone magazine reports that the saxophonist’s condition had seemed stable after two brain surgeries in the wake of the stroke, but his condition took a turn for the worse late this week.
Clemons was a former football player who met Springsteen in 1971 and joined the New Jersey singer-songwriter’s band after sitting in on a practice session one night in Asbury Park. On stage, Clemons towered over Springsteen and the rest of the band, and his signature sax sound has been an unmistakable feature of the E. Street Band’s work from the beginning.
In addition to his years of musical output, Clemons appeared on TV shows like “Diff’rent Strokes” and in the movie “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”. He recorded a duet with Jackson Browne called “You’re a Friend of Mine” and most recently played on the track “Edge of Glory” from Lady Gaga’s album “Born this Way”. He appears in the video for that song and his final live performance was with Lady Gaga when they performed “Edge of Glory” on the season finale of “American Idol”.