Deep Purple Co-Founder Jon Lord Dies at 71

Deep Purple Co-Founder Jon Lord Dies at 71
Jon Lord, best known as Deep Purple's founding keyboardist, died today (July 16) in hospital in London, UK, after suffering a pulmonary embolism. Lord had been receiving treatment for pancreatic cancer. He was 71.

A statement on Lord's official website reads, "Jon passes from Darkness to Light."

Lord was a member of Deep Purple from their inception in 1968 until his retirement from the group in 2002 (this doesn't include the band's breakup from 1976 to 1984). His classically trained Hammond organ playing was pivotal to the English group's signature sound, and he helped them to carve out their pioneering brand of hard rock.

Lord played on Deep Purple's most beloved works, and he is credited as a co-writer of "Smoke on the Water," one of the mostly instantly recognizable rock songs of all time.

The keyboardist also played with other bands throughout his decades-long career, including Whitesnake and Paice, Ashton & Lord. He additionally released solo classical compositions, including several since his departure from Deep Purple.

Lord is survived by his daughters Amy and Sara, and his wife Vickie.