Jon Lord, keyboardist of British hard-rock band Deep Purple, which at its peak included Lord, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, 67, drummer Ian Paice, 64, and bassist Roger Glover, 66, died at the London Clinic at the age of 71 on Monday after suffering a pulmonary embolism. Lord was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year, according to his manager, Bruce Payne, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

With his Deep Purple band mates, Lord co-wrote legendary songs of the '60s and early '70s, including "Smoke on the Water," "Hush," "Lazy," and "Child in Time." Lord would later go on to pursue other musical projects after leaving Deep Purple in 2002, including forming the band Paice, Ashton & Lord and playing with the rock band Whitesnake.

Born in Leicester, England, Lord took up classical piano at an early age and by his teens was playing in jazz and rhythm & blues groups. He found an immediate fit for his orchestral / rock fusion sound as one of the formative members of Deep Purple in 1968. At the time, Deep Purple was only one part of the burgeoning British heavy metal and hard-rock scene, with other such now-legendary groups as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.

"It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of Jon Lord, who suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism today, Monday 16 July at the London Clinic, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Jon was surrounded by his loving family," read a message posted on Lord's website.

Lord is survived by his wife, Vicky, and two daughters, Amy Cherrington and Sara Lord.

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