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King Crimson founder, Ian McDonald, dies aged 75


English multi-instrumental musician, best known as a founding member of progressive rock band King Crimson, Ian McDonald, has died after battling cancer, his family has confirmed.

He died on Wednesday, aged 75.

His son, Max, who confirmed his death in a statement said; “I’m deeply saddened to tell you that my father passed away yesterday from cancer.

“He was incredibly brave, and never lost his kindness or his sense of humour even when the going was rough.

Paying tribute to his dad, Max, noted that ‘he will live forever’ through his music.

“My father was a brilliant, intuitive musician, a gentle soul, and a wonderful dad. He will live on forever through his beautiful music and the love of his fans. Thank you all.”

Born in Osterley, Middlesex, McDonald served five years in the British Army as a bandsman. His music talent ranged from classical orchestra to dance bands.

In 1969, he was in King Crimson’s initial line up, which recorded their first album In the Court of the Crimson King.

McDonald and drummer Michael Giles departed and formed a spin-off group that released one album titled McDonald and Giles.

He reappeared in King Crimson in 1974 and intended to rejoin the band as a full member but did not get the opportunity to do so given Fripp’s decision to split the band.

He became a founding member of the band Foreigner in 1976, for whom he played guitar as well as his woodwinds and keyboards.

He had been a session musician and appeared in the recording of the hit single “Get It On (Bang a Gong)” by T. Rex, and recordings by Linda Lewis, Christine Harwood amongst others.

He also had some production credits to his name, including albums by Fruupp, Darryl Way’s Wolf and Fireballet.

In 1999, he released a solo album, Drivers Eyes.

On 14 May 2010, (Sherman Theatre, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania) and 15 May 2010 (Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, Atlantic City, New Jersey), McDonald made guest appearances during “An Intimate Evening with Keith Emerson and Greg Lake”. Played flute and shared lead vocals/vocal harmonies with Greg Lake on “I Talk to the Wind” while playing solo flute on “Lucky Man”. For these two songs, it was “Emerson, Lake & McDonald”.

In 2010, McDonald provided alto sax, flute and percussion textures to Beautiful Accident, the debut album by progressive blues band, Third International. One track, “Penitentiary” was co-written by McDonald with Third International frontman, Andrew Pearson.