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."

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Josh Hart

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.