Bobby Keys, the American saxophone player who often played in the Rolling Stones backing band, died on Tuesday. He was 70.

Bobby Keys Dies

Keys had reportedly been suffering from cirrhosis of the liver. He passed away at his home in Tennessee.

“The Rolling Stones are devastated by the loss of their very dear friend and legendary saxophone player, Bobby Keys,” the band said in a statement. “Bobby made a unique musical contribution to the band since the 1960s. He will be greatly missed.”

Keys got his start in the music industry in his mid teens, playing with the likes of Buddy Holly and landing a gig in Bobby Vee’s backing band. By 1964, Keys was introduced to the Rolling Stones, and by the late 60s, he was the British rock band’s go-to saxophone player. He went onto play on the Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street albumsmost notably on track “Brown Sugar,” in which he has an impressive solo.

In the 70s, partly due to Keys hard-partying antics, he parted ways with the band for a short while. He returned to theRolling Stones backing band in 1980 and continued to record and tour with them as recently as this year’s 14 on Fire tour, though he had to sit out the Australia leg due to his cirrhosis.

“They’ve just got that natural thing about it,” Keys told Rolling Stone in 2012 about the band. “That’s part of the music that I come from, cause I can’t read music, I have no idea what’s gonna come out of that horn half the – I mean, I have an idea now. But I can’t read music. That’s not where I come from musically. I come strictly from feeling, and that feeling comes from rock & roll.”

Aside from his work with the Stones, Keys worked with John Lennon, participating in his Lost Weekend and appearing on a couple of his albums, as well as fellow Beatle Paul McCartney. He also recorded two solo albums.

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