(CNN) — American saxophonist Bobby Keys, who for years toured and recorded with the Rolling Stones, has died, postings on the band’s Twitter account said Tuesday. He was 70.
“The Rolling Stones are devastated by the loss of their very dear friend and legendary saxophone player, Bobby Keys,” the band said on Twitter.
“Bobby made a unique musical contribution to the band since the 1960’s. He will be greatly missed.”
Born in Texas, Keys was a veteran sideman who performed or recorded with Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Eric Clapton and many other rock ‘n’ roll greats. He played sax on several of the Rolling Stones’ best-known songs, including “Brown Sugar,” “Sweet Virginia” and “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking.”
Keys left the Stones in the 1970s but rejoined the band almost two decades later.
Stones guitarist Keith Richards paid tribute to Keys on the band’s Facebook page.
“I have lost the largest pal in the world and I can’t express the sense of sadness I feel although Bobby would tell me to cheer up,” the post attributed to Richards reads. “My condolences to all that knew him and his love of music.”
A post on Keys’ Facebook page said he died peacefully early Tuesday morning at home in Franklin, Tennessee, surrounded by family and friends.
“Bobby’s horn may be silenced here on Earth, but the music he graciously shared will eternally live on,” the post said.
News of Keys’ death comes about a month and a half after the band said he would miss the Stones’ Australian and New Zealand tour dates because he was “under doctor’s orders to take it a bit easy for the next month.”
According to Keys’ 2012 autobiography, “Every Night’s a Saturday Night,” the list of performers he recorded with reads like a who’s who of popular music: B.B. King, Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon, Chuck Berry, Etta James, George Harrison, Marvin Gaye, Ringo Starr and Sheryl Crow, among many others.