The Stranglers' Dave Greenfield Dead of Coronavirus at 71: 'We Have Lost a Dear Friend'
Dave Greenfield has died of complications due to the coronavirus. He was 71.
The rock and roller, who was the keyboardist for the English band The Stranglers, died on Sunday, the BBC reports. Greenfield contracted the virus after an extended stay at a hospital due to previous unrelated heart problems.
Greenfield is the writer behind The Stranglers' largest hit song "Golden Brown." The tune, which refers to heroin, climbed to No. 2 on the U.K. singles chart in 1982.
Greenfield's bandmate Jean-Jacques "JJ" Burnel, 68, paid tribute to his fallen ally in a statement.
"On the evening of Sunday May 3rd, my great friend and longstanding colleague of 45 years, the musical genius that was Dave Greenfield, passed away as one of the victims of the Great Pandemic of 2020," Burnel said. "All of us in the worldwide Stranglers' family grieve and send our sincerest condolences to [Greenfield's wife] Pam."
Drummer Jet Black also honored Greenfield saying, "We have just lost a dear friend and music genius, and so has the whole world. Dave was a complete natural in music. Together, we toured the globe endlessly and it was clear he was adored by millions. A huge talent, a great loss, he is dearly missed."
"Golden Brown" earned The Stranglers an Ivor Novello award even though the band initially discarded the song. They first did not consider it to be a single. Some of their other hits include "No More Heroes," "Peaches" and "Something Better Change." Their original frontman Hugh Cornwell, 70, left the band in 1990, but he also shared heartfelt words for the late Greenfield.
"He was the difference between The Stranglers and every other punk band," Cornwell wrote on twitter. "His musical skill and gentle nature gave an interesting twist to the band. He should be remembered as the man who gave the world the music of 'Golden Brown.'"
The group's vocalist and guitarist Baz Warne, 56, described Greenfield as "a true innovator" and a "musical legend." "The word genius is bandied around far too easily in this day and age, but Dave Greenfield certainly was one," said Warne.
Greenfield is among the 67,700 people in the U.S. to have died from coronavirus-related illness. As of Monday, there are at least 1,165,300 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States.
A study from the Centers for Disease Control found that about 90 percent of people who have died from the illness had pre-existing conditions that could exacerbate COVID-19 symptoms. The study also showed that the hospitalized patients were more likely to be adults over 65.
The diagnosed patients were also 54 percent male and the study finds that black people suffering from the condition were hospitalized at a rate disproportionate to the population.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.