Rolling Stones Saxophonist Dies at 70

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Bobby Keys, the legendary saxophonist who toured and appeared on albums with the Rolling Stones, passed away on Tuesday at his Franklin, Tennessee home, after battling a lengthy illness. He was 70.

Known for his blistering solos, most notably on the Rolling Stones' 1971 hit "Brown Sugar," Keys also at times led the horn section when the band went into the studio or toured. Keys played on every Stones record from 1969 until 1974 and from 1980 to his death, and played live on all tours since 1970.

Born in Slaton, Texas in 1943, Keys began performing as a teenager, and played with Buddy Holly, John Lennon, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The band said in a statement, "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."

Keys was also a close friend of Stones guitarist Keith Richards. There is footage of him and Richards throwing a television set from the 10th floor of a hotel during the 1972 American Tour, as seen in the Stones' unreleased 1972 concert movie Cocksucker Blues.

Richards penned a small eulogy:

The Rolling Stones - "Can't You Hear Me Knocking," featuring Bobby Keys:

Keys once told Rolling Stone Magazine that he never learned to read music. "That's not where I come from musically. I come strictly from feeling, and that feeling comes from rock 'n' roll," the musician remarked.

Keys once related his struggles with heroin addiction in the autobiography Every Night's a Saturday Night. Nashville rock veteran Michael Webb said Keys had a liver condition and had been in and out of the hospital over the past two months.