DEEP PURPLE keyboardist Jon Lord has lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at age 71.
A message at his web site states:
"It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of Jon Lord, who suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism today, Monday, July 16th at the London Clinic, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Jon was surrounded by his loving family.
"Jon Lord, the legendary keyboard player with DEEP PURPLE co-wrote many of the bands legendary songs including 'Smoke On The Water' and played with many bands and musicians throughout his career.
"Best known for his orchestral work Concerto For Group & Orchestra first performed at Royal Albert Hall with DEEP PURPLE and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969 and conducted by the renowned Malcolm Arnold, a feat repeated in 1999 when it was again performed at the Royal Albert Hall by the London Symphony Orchestra and DEEP PURPLE.
"Jon's solo work was universally acclaimed when he eventually retired from DEEP PURPLE in 2002."
In addition to DEEP PURPLE, Lord played in WHITESNAKE — the band led by ex-PURPLE singer David Coverdale — from 1978 to 1984, having appeared on the albums "Trouble", "Lovehunter", "Ready An' Willing", "Come An' Get It", "Saints & Sinners" and "Slide It In".
Jon Lord is survived by his wife Vickie and two daughters — Amy and Sara.