Guitarist Mick Box of progressive rockers URIAH HEEP has released the following statement regarding the passing of former DEEP PURPLE keyboardist Jon Lord:"I was truly shocked to hear that Jon Lord had passed away. Jon was one of the all-time great rock keyboard players and composers, and he had the most amazing Hammond organ sound ever. "I have known Jon for many years dating back to the late '60s, and he was always the perfect gentleman, and great company. "The musical world has lost a giant, and his contribution to rock music will live on forever. "When people have asked me who was my favourite keyboard player, his name was always first on my lips." 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.