The Stranglers' keyboardist Dave Greenfield has died aged 71.
The musician passed away on Sunday (03.05.20) after testing positive for coronavirus following a stay in hospital for heart problems, his band mates confirmed in a statement.
A message posted to The Stranglers' website reads: "We are deeply and profoundly saddened to announce the untimely passing of keyboard legend Dave Greenfield on the evening of 3rd May 2020.
"Following a stay in hospital for heart problems, Dave tested positive for the Covid-19 virus last Sunday but he sadly lost his battle last night.
"Dave had been an ever present in the band since joining in late 1975 and his keyboard wizardry was world-renowned over his 45 year career in The Stranglers. "Dave was a lovable, friendly and eccentric character who always had time to chat."
Band members have also paid individual tributes to the keyboardist, with bass player Jean-Jacques 'JJ' Burnel dubbing his friend as a "musical genius".
He wrote: "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.
"All of us in the worldwide Stranglers' family grieve and send our sincerest condolences to Pam."
Whilst drummer Jet Black added: 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."
Current vocalist and guitarist Baz Warne said Dave was a "true innovator", while the band's manager Sil Willcox explained he was "in shock" over the news.
Baz said: "We lost a true innovator, musical legend, and one of my dearest friends today. The word genius is bandied around far too easily in this day and age, but Dave Greenfield certainly was one.
"We stood together on the same side of the stage for 20 years, laughed, joked and shared our lives in the way that only band mates can. I'll miss him forever.
"Our thoughts and hearts are with his wife Pam, and to the millions of fans who worshipped at his altar, he'll never be equalled."
And Sil added: "We are all in shock, Dave was a kind, generous soul who had time for anyone and everyone and it has been my privilege to have known him as both a close friend and his manager for over 40 years.
"Our thoughts are with his wife Pam at this sad time."
The Stranglers had recently postponed their farewell tour - which was due to take place this summer - due to the Covid-19 pandemic.