Skip to main content

Deep Purple Keyboardist Jon Lord Dead at 71

Deep Purple keyboard player and founding member Jon Lord died earlier today, July 16, at age 71 after suffering a pulmonary embolism.

Lord had been undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer and was reportedly surrounded by family at the London Clinic when he died.

A statement on Lord's official website ends, "Jon passes from Darkness to Light."

Lord founded Deep Purple in 1968, remaining a constant in the band's ever-shifting lineup right up until his retirement in 2002. He was instrumental in shaping and defining the band's sound, co-writing their mega-hit "Smoke on the Water." Along with guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, he helped bring baroque and classical influences to rock.

Over the course of his career, Lord also worked with Whitesnake, Paice, Ashton & Lord, The Artwoods and Flower Pot Men and recorded with several musicians, including George Harrison and Tony Iommi.

Joe Satriani was among the first musicians to respond to the news, posting, "R.I.P. Jon, we will miss you."

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Josh Hart is a former web producer and staff writer for Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado magazines (2010–2012). He has since pursued writing fiction under various pseudonyms while exploring the technical underpinnings of journalism, now serving as a senior software engineer for The Seattle Times.