Jon Lord, Deep Purple Keyboardist, Dies at 71

Jon Lord of the British classic rock band Deep Purple died Monday at age 71.

The keyboardist passed away at the London Clinic, when he suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism which came after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

A statement on Lord's official website indicated that the musician was surrounded by his family when he died, and had passed "from darkness to light."

Moreover, the official website for Deep Purple also announced the keyboardist's death.

"Our beloved Jon passed away on this day Monday 16th July 2012," started the statement on the group's site. "We have lost a dear friend, a brother and a wonderful musician. His dignity and graciousness touched us all. His music was an inspiration and took us to places beyond our imagination … A truly great man."

Lord's music career started with the classical piano, but when he was introduced to rockers such as Jerry Lee Lewis, the keyboardist turned toward jazz, blues, and pop music, and eventually blazed for trail for heavy metal.

"We humbly express out eternal love and great respect," concluded the group, which signed "Deep Purple."

Lord co-founded Deep Purple, who was once listed by the Guinness Book of Records as he loudest band in the world in 1968. The group is best known for their songs from the late 1960s and early '70s, such as "Smoke on the Water," "Hush," and "Child in Time," among others.

In the time following his death, dozens of fellow famous musicians from around the world have paid their respects to Lord, including members of both Guns N' Roses and Rage Against the Machine.

"Sad day in rock'n'roll," wrote former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash. "Jon Lord has passed on. One of the biggest, baddest, heaviest sounds in heavy metal."

Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello posted, "RIP the great Jon Lord, Deep Purple's cornerstone/keyboardist. So many great, great songs and that incredible SOUND of his! Thank you."

"Very sad to hear of Jon's death, following his battle with the demon cancer," wrote bassist for Black Sabbath Geezer Butler on his official website. "One of the great musicians of my generation."

In addition to the musicians and celebrities paying tributes to Lord Tuesday, hundreds of Deep Purple fans also sounded off on Twitter.

"So sad to hear about the passing of Jon Lord," wrote Neal. "He was a pioneer of the heavy organ … made a big mark in my musical world. RIP JON LORD."

Matt added, "Rip Jon Lord of Deep Purple The greatest rock keyboardist ever."

He is survived by his wife, Vicky, and two daughters, Amy Cherrington and Sara Lord.