Founding BLUE ÖYSTER CULT keyboardist and guitarist Allen Lanier died earlier today (Wednesday, August 14) of chronic lung disease. He was 66 years old.
Said the band in a statement: "We have extremely sad news to report. We've lost our friend and bandmate Allen Lanier. Allen succumbed to complications from C.O.P.D. [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease]. He is survived by his wife Dory, sister Mary Anne and mother Martha. Although he retired from touring in 2006, Allen returned to the stage for what turned out to be his final appearance, reuniting with BLUE ÖYSTER CULT at the 40th-anniversary show in New York this past November.
"[Don't fear the reaper] sweet man. We love you and miss you."
Added BLUE ÖYSTER CULT frontman Eric Bloom: "My great friend Allen Lanier has passed. I'll miss the guy even though we hadn't spoken in awhile. He was so talented as a musician and a thinker. He read voraciously, all kinds of things, especially comparative religion. We drove for years together, shared rooms in the early days. We partied, laughed, played. All BLUE ÖYSTER CULT fans and band members will mourn his death. Ultimately, smoking finally got to him. He had been hospitalized with C.O.P.D.
"It was Allen who heard some old college band tapes of mine and suggested I get a shot as the singer in 1968. A lot of great memories, over 40 years' worth. Maybe he's playing a tune with Jim Carroll right now."
Lanier was a member of BLUE ÖYSTER CULT since the band's inception in 1967 until his retirement in 2006.