Longtime Lou Reed keyboardist Michael Fonfara died in a Toronto hospital on Friday (Jan. 8) at age 74 of cancer.
The Stevensville, Ontario-born keyboard player's death was confirmed by his publicist, who said Fonfara had battled cancer for two years. Fonfara is best known for his decade-long run performing with late punk progenitor Reed on the albums Rock and Roll Heart (1976), Street Hassle (1978), Live: Take No Prisoners (1978), The Bells (1979) and 1980's Growing Up in Public, which he co-wrote and co-produced with Reed.
"It is with heavy hearts that we sadly announce the passing of our dear friend and long-time bandmate, Michael Fonfara," read a statement from his longtime bandmates in The Downchild Blues Band. "He was an incredible musician, a gentle soul and we were honoured to share the stage with him every time we performed. He will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. There will be a celebration of life once we are all safely able to get together."