Keyboardist Jon Lord, a co-founder of Deep Purple, died today (Monday) at the age of 71 from a pulmonary embolism at the London Clinic where he was being treated for pancreatic cancer. A statement on his website says, “Jon passed from Darkness to Light." He leaves behind his wife Vickie and two daughters -- Amy and Sara.
A co-writer of some of Purple’s most popular songs, Lord’s Hammond B-3 organ was the cornerstone of such songs as "Hush," “Smoke on the Water," "Highway Star," ''Lazy" and "Child in Time." He also played with former Purple singer David Coverdale in Whitesnake and retired from Purple in 2002 to concentrate on classical and orchestral music.
Members of the music community have reacted to Lord’s death, among them:
David Coverdale: "It was an absolute joy and pleasure for me to know him and to work alongside him. He is missed already."
Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler: "He was one of the great musicians of my generation. 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."
Jon Anderson: “I met Jon Lord for the first time in Hamburg, Germany in 1967 -- he was always wonderful to be around, and later in London, as we both continued our musical journey. He was always a perfect gentleman and a great musician and had a ready smile whenever our paths would meet. I send my heartfelt sympathy to his family and wish them all the love in the world.”
Tommy Shaw: “Jon Lord's screaming Hammond organ was and is the archetypal rock organ sound, and in his hands it boldly made the leap from soul music to standing toe to toe with [guitarist] Ritchie Blackmore. Still unsurpassed!"
Slash: “Sad day in rock and roll. One of the biggest, baddest, heaviest sounds in heavy metal. One of a kind. Rest in peace.”
James "JY" Young of Styx: "Jon Lord was the finest rock organist that ever walked the Earth, and a great inspiration to me. Jon's performance on Deep Purple's version of 'Hush' was and is the Greatest Rock Organ recording ever. From the beginning four awesome power chords, to the rhythmic Jimmy Smith-like opening, to the unequalled solo, it simply stands head and shoulders above any other Rock Organ performance. Jon Lord will be missed, but his music shall live on forever!"