Mike Pinder, the Moody Blues’ longtime keyboardist and the last surviving founding member of the Rock Hall-inducted band, has died at the age of 82. Pinder’s family announced his death via a statement shared by the group’s bassist John Lodge, stating that Pinder had died peacefully on Wednesday at his home in Northern California home. No cause of death was announced.

Their statement described him as a “musician, father, cosmic philosopher & friend” who “lived his life with a childlike wonder, walking a deeply introspective path which fused the mind and the heart.”

Pinder was an early proponent of the Mellotron, a keyboard that was essentially an early sampler that created a distinctive orchestral sound that marked many songs by the Moody Blues and other groups of the progressive-rock era. Born in Birmingham in the British Midlands in 1941, he came up on the city’s vibrant music scene – which ultimately produced members of groups ranging from the Move and Traffic to Electric Light Orchestra and Black Sabbath – and formed the “Moodies” in 1964 with Graeme Edge, Ray Thomas (both of whom would remain for many years), Clint Warwick and singer Denny Laine. The group rocketed to stardom in 1965 with their cover of Bessie Bank’s soulful ballad “Go Now” and Pinder wrote many of the group’s early originals with Laine, but he departed the group in 1966 (ultimately joining Paul McCartney’s Wings several years later).

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