Deep Purple co-founder Jon Lord died on Monday (July 16th) at age 71 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, according to NME.com. Lord, who was known for his keyboard virtuosity and his reinvention of the Hammond B-3 organ sound, co-wrote such Purple classics as "Smoke On The Water" and "Child In Time," among others. Lord and drummer Ian Paice were the only original members to last through the band's initial run from 1968 to 1976. He was on board for their 1984 reunion and stayed on through to his 2002 retirement from the band, after which he's worked primarily in the classical field.
Over the course of his career, Lord also worked with the Artwoods, Flower Pot Men, Paice, Ashton And Lord, Whitesnake and good friend and neighbor, George Harrison.
Lord's family issued a formal statement on his death, saying:
"It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of Jon Lord, who suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism today, Monday 16 July, at the London Clinic after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Jon was surrounded by his loving family. The legendary keyboard player with Deep Purple co-wrote many of the band's legendary songs including 'Smoke On The Water,' and played with many bands and musicians throughout his career. Jon passes from Darkness to Light."
Deep Purple issued a statement on it's official site, Deep-Purple.com, saying:
"Our beloved Jon passed away on this day Monday 16th July 2012. We have lost a dear friend, a brother and a wonderful musician. His dignity and graciousness touched us all. His music was an inspiration and took us to places beyond our imagination . . . A truly great man. We humbly express our eternal love and great respect. Deep Purple"
FRIENDS & FANS REMEMBER JON LORD
Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler: "Very sad to hear of Jon's death, following his battle with the demon cancer. One of the great musicians of my generation. (Black Sabbath guitarist) Tony Iommi recently worked with Jon, and said what a lovely bloke he was. I met him a few times, but never got to work with him. Blessings."
Whitesnake: "God bless you Mr. Jon Lord. Hasta siempre maestro Jon Lord."
Nirvana's Krist Novoselic: "Deep Purple's Jon Lord Dies -- King of Heavy Hammond Sound."
Dee Snider: I just found out that Jon Lord from Deep Purple passed away. What an amazing musician and a true gentleman. We lost a great one. . . RIP"
Slash: "Sad day in Rock & Roll; Jon Lord has passed on. One of the biggest, baddest, heaviest sounds in Heavy Metal. One of a kind. RIP."
The Kinks: "RIP Jon Lord. A fantastic pianist and composer. With The Kinks, he played keyboards on 'You Really Got Me.' Legend."
Ewan McGregor: Deep Purple's Jon Lord dies at 71. Jon played with my great friend Tony Ashton. They'll be jamming upstairs now!"
Genesis' Steve Hackett: "I'm saddened at the death of Jon Lord. A very nice man who brought the worlds of classical and rock music closer together."
Toto's Steve Lukather: "My heartfelt RIP to Jon Lord. A massive influence of all musicians of my generation and beyond."
Tom Morello: "RIP the great Jon Lord, Deep Purple's cornerstone/keyboardist. So many great great songs and that incredible SOUND of his! Thankyou."
Iron Maiden: "Very sad to hear that Jon Lord has passed away."
Joe Bonamassa: 'I am extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Jon Lord today. One of the nicest and most talented people Ive ever met. Rest in Peace."
Jon Lord and drummer Ian Paice worked together for a long time, not just in Purple, but also in Whitesnake and in the short-lived Paice Ashton & Lord. Paice told us that the pair's bond went far beyond being bandmates: ""Jon and I, we're married to sisters, and they're twin sisters, so they're never far apart from each others. I suppose it's. . . socially, we're pretty close, and although we're not family, we're pretty close to it. It's hard to get away from, for both of us, y'know?"