Rolling Stones Death: Saxophonist Bobby Keys Dies at 70

Pam WrightLife

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Bobby Keys, the legendary saxophonist for The Rolling Stones, died early Tuesday at his home in Franklin, Tennessee. He was 70.

Michael Webb, the keyboardist in Keys' band, the Suffering Bastards, announced Keys' death. Suffering from cirrhosis of the liver, Keys missed the Stones' October and November tour dates in Australia and New Zealand and was replaced by veteran saxophonist Karl Denson.

Keys began his career with Buddy Holly when he was only 16. Throughout his career, he worked with an eclectic group of musicians, which included John Lennon, B.B. King, Maroon 5, George Harrison, AC/DC, Barbra Streisand and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

It was his highly recognizable solo on The Rolling Stones' 1971 classic, Brown Sugar, that helped solidify a lasting name for himself in the music industry.

The Rolling Stones released a statement, and posted it on Twitter, on Tuesday following the announcement of his death.

Keith Richards, with whom Keys shares the same birthdate, Dec. 18,1943, posted his own tribute on Facebook.

Born in Slaton, Texas, Keys found his inspiration to take up the sax in R&B sax legend King Curtis.

Keys first encountered The Rolling Stones at a San Antonio concert while touring with Bobby Vee in 1964. He made his recording debut with the band on the 1969 album, Let It Bleed, and was featured on every subsequent album by the band through 1974's It's Only Rock and Roll.

Keys was dropped by the band in 1973 because of his heavy partying and it wasn't until the 1989's Steel Wheels tour that he returned to the band.

Despite giving up the majority of drugs and alcohol, Keys continued to smoke marijuana regularly.

Pam Wright