Lawton is best known for singing on 1977's "Free Me."
Former Uriah Heep vocalist John Lawton died on June 29 of undisclosed causes at the age of 74. According to a note on the long-running British rock band's official site, Lawton's death was "totally unexpected" and the group said that contrary to some reports, "there was no illness involved, which makes his passing incomprehensible."
Lawton reportedly died peacefully with his wife at his side and a private funeral is planned for close family and friends. Following stints in the bands The Deans, West One and Stonewall, Lawton began a long run with German rockers Lucifer's Friend in the late 1960s/early 1970s -- during which he recorded nine studio albums -- and contributed to 20 albums with the Les Humphries Singers in the mid-1970s. Lawton landed his most high-profile gig when he signed on as the lead singer of the prog group Heep, whose name was derived from a character in Charles Dickens' David Copperfield; a spokesperson for Uriah Heep could not be reached at press time for additional comment.