Founder of Legendary Rock Band Dies Huffington Post

One of the founding members of a seminal British rock band has died, The Huffington Post reports. Keyboard player Jon Lord, a founder of Deep Purple, died today at 71.

“A statement on Lord's official website says the Leicester, England-born musician suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism in London after a long battle with pancreatic cancer,” the story reports.

Lord co-wrote some of Deep Purple’s most famous songs, including “Smoke on the Water.” He later was a member of Whitesnake, and also had a successful solo career.

The report notes: “Earlier this month, Lord canceled a performance of his Durham Concerto in Germany. At the time, his website assured fans that it was ‘not a matter for concern, but it is a continuation of his regular treatment that has just taken longer than anticipated.’"

Lord informed fans in 2011 that he was fighting cancer and would take a break from performing "while getting the treatment and cure," the report notes.

About a year ago he wrote: "I shall of course be continuing to write music -- in my world it just has to be part of the therapy -- and I fully expect to be back in good shape next year."

Jon-Lord.jpgJon Lord

Here’s a clip of Deep Purple, with Lord on keyboards, performing the classic “Highway Star” in 1972: