London: A British punk band has lost its keyboard player to the coronavirus.
Dave Greenfield, who joined The Stranglers in 1975, was announced as having passed away on the band's website after the 71-year-old contracted COVID-19 during a long stay in hospital for heart problems.
Greenfield was known for his distinctive sound and playing style, using instruments such as the harpsichord and Hammond electric organ.
Originally from Brighton, he wrote the music to the band's biggest hit, Golden Brown, which bandmates initially dismissed as not suitable for a single, but it went on to become extremely successful winning the band an Ivor Novello award.
Bass player Jean-Jacques "JJ" Burnel paid tribute acknowledging him as a "musical genius" who had "passed away as one of the victims of the Great Pandemic of 2020".
On the band's website, he honoured Greenfield as his "great friend and longstanding colleague of 45 years", adding: "All of us in the worldwide Stranglers' family grieve and send our sincerest condolences to [his wife] Pam."
The band's former lead singer Hugh Cornwall, took to Twitter - Greenfield's "musical skill and gentle nature gave an interesting twist to the band" and that he "should be remembered as the man who gave the world the music of Golden Brown".
The Stranglers became one of the most innovative bands during Britain's punk explosion in the late 1970s and had recently postponed a farewell tour from this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic.