Spencer Dryden, drummer for the San Francisco rock band the Jefferson Airplane, died of cancer Tuesday in Petaluma, Calif. He was 66.

Spencer Dryden, drummer for the San Francisco rock band the Jefferson Airplane, died of cancer Tuesday in Petaluma, Calif. He was 66.

Dryden -- who was a nephew of silent film star Charlie Chaplin -- was born in New York and raised in Los Angeles. On the recommendation of L.A. session drummer Earl Palmer, Dryden was hired by the Airplane to replace the group's original drummer Skip Spence, who left to form Moby Grape.

Dryden played with the psychedelic band from 1966-70, appearing on its popular albums "Surrealistic Pillow" (which included the hits "Somebody To Love" and "White Rabbit"), "After Bathing at Baxter's" and "Crown of Creation." He later played with New Riders Of The Purple Sage and the Dinosaurs.

"We struggled together, occasionally lived together, argued together, loved together and made some great music together," Airplane lead guitarist Jorma Kaukonen wrote on his official Web site. "Spencer had been so sick for such a long time. It is easy of course, to say that he is in a better place, but I believe it to be so. When the quality of life diminishes beyond acceptability if we are lucky, we get to move on."

Dryden is survived by three sons.

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