Deep Purple musician Jon Lord dies at 71

Deep Purple musician Jon Lord dies at 71

Jon Lord, who founded Deep Purple and co-wrote their most famous song, Smoke On The Water, has died aged 71.

The Leicester-born keyboard player, who had pancreatic cancer, died in London on July 16.

A statement on his website said he had passed "from Darkness to Light".

The statement said the musician was "surrounded by his loving family" when he died.

Last year, Jon told fans he was "fighting cancer and will therefore be taking a break from performing while getting the treatment and cure".

In a message on his website dated August 9, 2011, he added: "I shall of course be continuing to write music - in my world it just has to be part of the therapy - and I fully expect to be back in good shape next year."

Jon started playing the piano in his family home and took classical music lessons before turning to jazz and rock 'n' roll.

He moved to London at 19 to go to drama school, but was soon playing piano in pubs and bars and in 1964 joined cult blues band The Artwoods - formed by Ronnie Wood's brother Art.

The band were critical favourites but never translated that into commercial success and split up.

Jon then went on tour with manufactured psychedelic pop combo The Flowerpot Men, who had scored a hit with Let's Go To San Francisco, before joining Deep Purple in 1968.

Photo: Rex

Tuesday July 17, 2012

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