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Pink Floyd Founding Member Rick Wright Dead at 65

September 15, 2008 1:03 PM ET

Rick Wright, keyboardist and a founding member of Pink Floyd, died today after a battle with cancer. He was 65. "The family of Richard Wright, founder member of Pink Floyd, announce with great sadness that Richard died today after a short struggle with cancer," Wright's spokesman said. "The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this difficult time." Wright, along with Syd Barrett, Roger Waters and drummer Nick Mason, laid the foundation for Pink Floyd, with Wright's organ work one of the trademarks of the band's debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. With the addition of David Gilmour and the subtraction of Syd Barrett, Wright's responsibilities with Floyd expanded, writing and singing on two songs on the band's second album A Saucer Full of Secrets. Among Wright's most well-known works as a member of Pink Floyd are co-writing credits on "Us & Them," "The Great Gig in the Sky" and the Atom Heart Mother gem "Summer '68." In a sidebar to a feature last year, David Fricke said of "Us & Them," "Rick Wright composed the floating-chord piano figure at the heart of this song during the sessions for Zabriskie Point. Director Michelangelo Antonioni rejected it, allowing Wright to resurrect the theme for this Dark Side highlight." Wright remained a member of Pink Floyd until a rift with Roger Waters resulted in his exit after The Wall. Wright later rejoined the band when David Gilmour took over the reins after Waters left the band. Wright was also on hand when the band reunited in 2005 for the Live 8 concert in London. Recently, Wright had joined David Gilmour's solo tour. Check out the playlist of key Richard Wright songs below.

Cover Story: The Magic and Majesty of Pink Floyd

 

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