Sunday, 19 June 2011

E Street Band sax player Clarence Clemons dies aged 69

Clarence Clemons, saxophonist with Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, has died aged 69.

The musician had been in hospital since suffering a stroke at his Florida home last weekend (June 11-12) and passed away yesterday (1
8), a spokesman for the band confirmed to BBC News.

Springsteen led the tributes to his "great friend" in a statement on his website,, where he spoke of his "overwhelming" loss.

"Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage," the singer said.

Known as the 'Big Man', Clemons had been a key part in defining the sound of the E Street Band, contributing the iconic sax parts on hits like 'Born To Run' and 'Thunder Road'.

He underwent two knee replacements and back surgery last year, and as a result described his last tour as "pure hell" due to the pain.

His last performance with the E Street Band was December. He was scheduled to perform the US National Anthem at the NBA Finals Game 2 last week, but had to pull out to due to a hand injury.

Virginia-born Clemons began playing saxophone at the age of nine after receiving one for Christmas.

"I wanted an electric train for Christmas, but he [his dad] got me a saxophone. I flipped out," he told the Associated Press news agency during a 1989 interview.

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