Bobby Keys, 70, longtime saxophone player and touring member of the Rolling Stones, died Tuesday in rural Tennessee, reportedly of cirrhosis.
Best known for his runs on classic Rolling Stones albums, Mr. Keys was an integral part of the band's best work and toured with the group throughout his life.
"The Rolling Stones are devastated by the loss of their very dear friend and legendary saxophone player, Bobby Keys," the band said in a statement.
In October, the Stones said Mr. Keys was unable to join them on an Australian and New Zealand tour, citing doctor's orders.
He was Keith Richards' longtime partner in crime, a man whom the guitarist described in his autobiography as "my closest pal (we were born within hours of each other). A soul of rock and roll, a solid man, also a depraved maniac."