June 28, 2002 10:45 AM

John Entwistle, 57, the eternally straight-faced bass player for The Who, was found dead Thursday in his Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel room of an apparent heart attack, reports The New York Times, which noted that the band was preparing to start a U.S. tour on Friday. No sign of drugs or alcohol were found in Entwistle’s room, said the paper, quoting a spokesman for the Clark County Fire Department, which had rushed to the musician’s aide only to pronounce him dead. As reported by the Associated Press, stunned Who fans have been leaving flowers and are consoling each other outside a casino concert hall where the band was scheduled to perform on Friday. That show has been canceled, as has a July 1 show in L.A. The fate of remainder of the three-month tour is still undecided, a spokeswoman for the tour’s promoter, Clear Channel Entertainment, told AP. The Who was formed out of the ’60s group the Detours, when singer Roger Daltrey signed on Entwistle and later guitarist Pete Townshend and drummer Keith Moon. (Moon died of a drug overdose in 1978 and was replaced by Kenney Jones.) Entwistle — who also played trumpet, fluegelhorn and piano — contributed songs to the band’s repertoire including “Boris the Spider” and “My Wife,” as well as songs in the groundbreaking 1969 rock opera “Tommy” with the characters Uncle Ernie and Cousin Kenny. Entwistle also led bands outside The Who (such as Ox and Rigor Mortis), and released albums and performed into the 1990s, The Times notes. The Chiswick, England, native married his first wife, Alison Wise, in 1967, reports The Times, and he is survived by their son, Christopher.

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