Denis Payton, saxophonist with British beat band the Dave Clark Five, died Sunday (Dec. 17) after a long battle with cancer in Bournemouth, England. He was 63.

Born Aug. 11, 1943 in Walthamstow, East London, Payton went on to be a founding member of the '60s hitmakers whose popularity, in their heyday, was second on to the Beatles in the United States.

They were the first English group to tour America, spearheading the "British Invasion" and selling over 100 million albums in the process, according to a spokesman.

The band also has the distinction of having made 18 appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, more than any other British group.

In a statement, bandleader Dave Clark described Payton as an "amazing talent" who played sax, guitars, harmonica and sung backing vocals on all the band's recordings.

"Denis was extremely brave and not afraid of death. He had an amazing philosophy on life and will be greatly missed by me and all who knew him."

On Oct. 30, the band was nominated among nine acts on the ballot for the 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, to be held next March in N.Y. Clark said Payton was "thrilled" about the nomination.

Payton is survived by his partner of 16 years Lindsay, his two sons from his first marriage, Lee and Scott, step sons Levi, Asa and sister Barbara.