The Rolling Stones Saxophonist Bobby Keys Dies at 70

"The Rolling Stones are devastated by the loss," said the band's rep.

December 02, 2014, 1:19 PM
PHOTO: Saxophonist Bobby Keys of The Rolling Stones performs at The Capitol Theatre, Sept. 7, 2012, in Pt Chester, New York.
Saxophonist Bobby Keys of The Rolling Stones performs at The Capitol Theatre, Sept. 7, 2012, in Pt Chester, New York.
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty Images

— -- Longtime Rolling Stones saxophonist Bobby Keys has died. He was 70.

The news was confirmed today by the band's rep.

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

The cause of death was not immediately revealed.

The Stones had announced in October that Keys would not be joining the band for some of the group's international tour dates.

"Due to being a bit under the weather, Bobby Keys will not be joining the Stones for the Australian and New Zealand tour dates," the band announced via its website. "Bobby is under doctor’s orders to take it a bit easy for the next month and hopes to see everyone soon."

Keys was a Texas native, who originally joined the iconic band in the late 1960's and early 1970's, had a falling out with the band, but returned in the early 1980's.

In an interview with the Nashville Scene, Keys detailed how he first started working with the iconic band.

"The first record I played on was 'Let It Bleed,'" he said of recording 1969's "Live with Me," almost by accident. "I ran into Jagger [in Elektra Studios]. ... So he said, 'Well, what are you doing?' ... He said, 'You got your horn?' I said, 'Well, yeah,' and he said, 'Well, if you got a minute, come on down to our studio. We're working on some tracks, and there's a song we were talking about a horn solo on.' ... That was the first track I played with them ... that was fifty years ago!"

He is best known for his work on hits like "Brown Sugar." He is also featured on John Lennon's "Whatever Gets You thru the Night". Keys has worked with the likes of Barbara Streisand, The Who and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

It was Keys' work with The Stones that really got him going and that he cherished.

"As many times as I've played 'Brown Sugar' and 'Honky Tonk Woman' and all that, I never get tired of playing it," he added to the Nashville Scene. "Because those guys — it's not treated like just another day at the office. There's just too much energy up there. Keith Richards don't fake nothing, Charlie don't fake nothing, none of them know how to fake stuff! They really don't."

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