BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi has released the following statement regarding the passing of former DEEP PURPLE keyboardist Jon Lord:"I was so shocked and saddened to hear the news of Jon's passing. "Jon was not only a magnificent keyboard player and musician but a wonderful human being and a true gentleman. I'm honored to have had the opportunity to play together with him. "We've lost a true legend but his music will live on in all of our hearts. "My deepest thoughts go out to his family. "R.I.P., Jon, my friend." Jon Lord died on Monday (July 16) at age 71 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Lord, who was known for his keyboard virtuosity and his reinvention of the Hammond B-3 organ sound, co-wrote such PURPLE classics as "Smoke On The Water" and "Child In Time", among others. Lord and drummer Ian Paice were the only original members to last through the band's initial run from 1968 to 1976. He was on board for their 1984 reunion and stayed on through to his 2002 retirement from the band, after which he's worked primarily in the classical field. Over the course of his career, Lord also worked with the ARTWOODS, FLOWER POT MEN, PAICE, ASHTON AND LORD, WHITESNAKE and good friend and neighbor, George Harrison.