Los Angeles: Bobby Keys, the saxophonist who toured with The Rolling Stones for more than 45 years, died at his home in Franklin, Tennessee due to cirrhosis. He was 70.
Keys' family announced his passing on Facebook last night. "Early this morning our beloved husband, father, family member, and friend passed away peacefully at home in Franklin, TN. Bobby was surrounded by his family and loved ones.
He will be greatly missed as he touched so many lives and made a lasting contribution to the American music scene," the said.
"Bobby's horn may be silenced here on Earth, but the music he graciously shared will eternally live on. In lieu or flowers and gifts, the family asks that contributions be made to St Jude's Children Research Hospital and The Humane Society in his honour," they added.
The Rolling Stones paid tribute to Keys by posting a photo of him along with a message. "The Rolling Stones are devastated by the loss of their very dear friend and legendary saxophone player, Bobby Keys. Bobby made a unique musical contribution to the band since the 1960s. He will be greatly missed," the message read.
Keys, who was born on December 18, 1943 in Slaton, Texas, began touring with Bobby Vee and Buddy Holly when he was 15. Later in 1964, he befriended Keith Richards, who has the same birthday as him, and Mick Jagger.
Richards expressed his condolences by posting a picture of a handwritten note. "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. My condolences to all that knew him and his love of music," Richards wrote.