Dave Greenfield, the keyboard player with The Stranglers, has died after testing positive for coronavirus.
The British punk band’s website announced that the 71-year-old died on Sunday after contracting COVID-19 during a long stay in hospital for heart problems.
Greenfield, originally from Brighton, wrote the music to the band’s biggest hit, Golden Brown.
His bandmates initially dismissed the song as not suitable for a single, but it went on to become extremely successful and won the band an Ivor Novello award.
Bass player Jean-Jacques “JJ” Burnel paid tribute to Greenfield as a “musical genius” who had “passed away as one of the victims of the Great Pandemic of 2020”.
On the band’s website, he honoured Greenfield as his “great friend and longstanding colleague of 45 years”, adding: “All of us in the worldwide Stranglers’ family grieve and send our sincerest condolences to [his wife] Pam.”
Hugh Cornwall, the band’s former lead singer, said on Twitter that Greenfield’s “musical skill and gentle nature gave an interesting twist to the band” and that he “should be remembered as the man who gave the world the music of Golden Brown”.
Greenfield was known for his distinctive sound and playing style, using instruments such as the harpsichord and Hammond electric organ.
He joined the band in 1975, which subsequently became one of the most innovative during Britain’s punk explosion in the late 1970s.
It had recently postponed a farewell tour from this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Greenfield is survived by his wife Pam.