Erik Braunn, the Iron Butterfly guitarist who played one of rock's most recognizable riffs in the 17-minute anthem "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," died of cardiac arrest Friday.

Erik Braunn, the Iron Butterfly guitarist who played one of rock's most recognizable riffs in the 17-minute anthem "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," died of cardiac arrest Friday. He was 52. According to his official Web site, Braunn had suffered for some time with "a debilitating physical ailment to which the doctors know little about, nor a cure."

Braunn, who was born in Pekin, Ill., and raised in Los Angeles, was a violin prodigy who began his musical career at age 4. He joined Iron Butterfly when he was 16 and toured with the heavy metal band from 1967 to 1969, when the group was enjoying its greatest success.

Braunn, Doug Ingle, Ron Bushy and Lee Dorman left their mark on musical history with the psychedelic "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," released in 1968. The album of the same name reached No. 4 on the Billboard album chart; a three-minute version of the single reached No. 30 on the Billboard pop singles tally.

Braunn occasionally reunited with the band for performances, and worked as a songwriter, musician and producer until his death. He was working on a new album for the past year, according to his site, which is offering a number of tracks for free download.

During a 1988 reunion, he commented to the Los Angeles Times about his experience with superstardom decades earlier: "My first vacation I bought a car, a Jaguar, and parked it outside the hospital where I spent two weeks for ulcers and gastroenteritis."


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