Bobby Keys, the talented saxophonist best known for his solo on "Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar," passed away on Tuesday, at his home in Nashville, Tennessee, at the age of 70.
Keys' family confirmed the musician's death but did not reveal the cause of death. However, Michael Webb, who played the keyboard with Keys confirmed that the saxophonist passed away after a long illness, according to The Associated Press.
"The Rolling Stones" said that they were "devastated" by the news and grieved the "loss of their very dear friend and legendary saxophone player."
"Bobby made a unique musical contribution to the band since the 1960s. He will be greatly missed," the band said in the statement.
Keys shared his birthday with band member Keith Richards, who referred to him as a soul mate and great musician. The two of them became deep friends and partners in 'kischief'. The two famously threw a TV set out from a hotel room in the sixties.
"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," Richards wrote on Facebook.
Keys' baritone tunes and tenor earned him much fame in the music world. He not only became a major part of "The Rolling Stones" music but also recorded solos with Eric Clapton, John Lennon and Barbara Streisand.
Keys' love affair with his saxophone started by chance. He actually wanted to play the guitar but could never afford one. He ended up self-training himself on playing the saxophone after he injured himself while playing baseball and couldn't try out for his school's football team.
"No big loss, except the only way to go to the football games and be involved in the program was to join the band. And the only instrument they had left, the absolute last instrument available, was an old baritone saxophone, which I had no idea how to even put my lips on," Keys wrote in his 2012 memoir "Every Night is a Saturday Night."
In a 2012 interview with The Rolling Stone magazine, Keys said he believed in the magic of "Rock n Roll" and added that if a band can't play together, it could create nothing.
Speaking of his playing style, Keys said:
"I listen subliminally. I play more rhythmically than I do a lot of notes. I pull a lot of the stuff that I play off the rhythm tracks – and Keith Richards has been one of the main contributors to my inspirational playing."
Keys is survived by his wife Holly, three sons –Jesse, Huck and Randy and a daughter Amber.