LONDON, July 17 (UPI) -- Deep Purple co-founder Jon Lord has died of a pulmonary embolism at the London Clinic after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, his Web site said.
The composer and keyboardist was 71 when he died Monday, surrounded by his loved ones.
The band he co-founded in 1968 and retired from in 2002 mourned the loss of their "beloved Jon" in a posting on their Web site Monday.
"We have lost a dear friend, a brother and a wonderful musician," Deep Purple said in the posting. "His dignity and graciousness touched us all. His music was an inspiration and took us to places beyond our imagination. ... A truly great man. We humbly express our eternal love and great respect."
The BBC said The Kinks also offered their condolences online.
"RIP Jon Lord. A fantastic pianist and composer. With The Kinks, he played keyboards on 'You Really Got Me.' Legend," the message said.
Twisted Sister's Dee Snider said on Twitter: "What an amazing musician and a true gentleman. We lost a great one. RIP."
Lord co-wrote many of Deep Purple's classic songs, including the iconic "Smoke on the Water." He also played with bands such as Whitesnake, Paice, Ashton & Lord, The Artwoods and Flower Pot Men, and he composed and performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in 1969, the BBC said.
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