Legendary Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord has passed away from cancer at the age of 71.

Lord was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his pancreas in 2011 and had undergone treatment for it from a specialist this past February in Israel. The influential musician was due to make his live comeback at a show in Hagen, Germany on July 12, but was forced to put the performance on hold due to his failing health.

A statement released at the time of the German show's postponement read: "Jon wishes to assure everyone that this is not a matter for concern, but it is a continuation of his regular treatment that has just taken longer than anticipated. He and the Hagen Philharmonic Orchestra hope to be able to reschedule the concert for later in the year."

Sadly, Lord's health did not improve and he passed away today (July 16) after suffering a pulmonary embolism at a private hospital in London, England.

A post on his official website states: "It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of Jon Lord, who suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism today, Monday 16th July at the London Clinic, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Jon was surrounded by his loving family."

Lord founded Deep Purple in 1968 and played on the group's biggest hits, including "Smoke on the Water," "Highway Star" and "Hush." He also was a member of Whitesnake for a spell in the late '70s.

Besides his dazzling keyboard and organ playing, Lord was also a celebrated composer. His most revered work in that arena is Concerto for Group and Orchestra, which was performed at the Royal Albert Hall in 1969 with Deep Purple and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Since retiring from Deep Purple in 2002, Lord released two classical albums: Durham Concerto (2008) and To Notice Such Things (2010).



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