LONDON (AP) — British rocker Jon Lord, the keyboardist whose powerful, driving tones helped turn Deep Purple and Whitesnake into two of the most popular hard rock acts in a generation, died Monday. He was 71.
A statement on Lord's official website says the Leicester, England-born musician suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism in London after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
"Jon passed from Darkness to Light," the statement said.
Lord co-wrote some of Deep Purple's most famous tunes, including "Smoke on the Water," and later had a successful solo career following his retirement from the band in 2002. The statement posted on Lord's website said he died "surrounded by his loving family."
Emily Freeman of The Agency Group, which represented Lord for all his live concert work, confirmed the news in an email.
Tributes to Lord flooded Twitter, with artists such as Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello and Toto's Steve Lukather expressing sadness over his death and praising his musical contributions.
Earlier this month, Lord canceled a performance of his Durham Concerto in Germany for what his website said was a continuation of treatment. He had told fans last year that he was fighting cancer.