Page last updated at 12:10 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

Keyboardist Saunders dies aged 74

Keyboardist Merl Saunders, who played with acts including Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis, has died at the age of 74.

Some of his most famous music was made in the 1960s and 1970s in his collaborations with Jerry Garcia, lead singer with US rock band Grateful Dead.

The Saunders-Garcia Band made two albums in the 1970s and played together until Garcia's death in 1995.

Saunders died on Friday in San Francisco of complications following a stroke, his son said.

Sad as we are to lose him, we're very aware of being comforted by the affection coming from all those touched by that smile and that wonderful music
Merl Saunders' family

A message posted by his family on his website said he "stood for music and love".

"We loved him very much and we know that you, his fans, did too," the statement added.

"Sad as we are to lose him, we're very aware of being comforted by the affection coming from all those touched by that smile and that wonderful music."

His 1990 album Blues from the Rainforest, a collaboration with Garcia and drummer Muruga Booker, sold well in new age music charts.

He collaborated with many high-profile artists including David Soul and Bonnie Raitt.

He is survived by his long-term partner, two sons and a daughter.


SEE ALSO
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Last Garcia items up for sale
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