Procol Harum frontman Gary Brooker dies after cancer battle as tributes pour in

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Procol Harum frontman Gary Brooker has died after a battle with cancer, his bandmates have confirmed.

The singer behind hit song A Whiter Shade of Pale was 76, and died of cancer on Saturday, February 19.

The band released a statement which praised his 'kindness' and 'mordant wit', commenting: "He lit up any room he entered, and his kindness to a multilingual family of fans was legendary.

"He was notable for his individuality, integrity, and occasionally stubborn eccentricity. His mordant wit, and appetite for the ridiculous, made him a priceless raconteur (and his surreal inter-song banter made a fascinating contrast with the gravitas of Procol Harum’s performances)."

The statement went on: "His first single with Procol Harum, 1967’s ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale,’ is widely regarded as defining ‘The Summer of Love’, yet it could scarcely have been more different from the characteristic records of that era.

"Nor was it characteristic of his own writing. Over 13 albums, Procol Harum never sought to replicate it, preferring to forge a restlessly progressive path, committed to looking forward, and making each record a ‘unique entertainment’.

"Gary’s voice and piano were the single defining constant of Procol’s fifty-year international concert career.

"Without any stage antics or other gimmicks he was invariably the most watchable musician in the show (he played several other instruments in the studio)."

It concluded: "But for all his other interests and skills – prize-winning angler, pub-owner, lyricist, painter, inventor – he was above all a devoted and loyal husband to Franky, whom he met in 1965 and married in 1968.

"Our thoughts must be with her, their families and friends at this extremely sad time."

Tributes have already begun pouring in for the late star, with one fan writing: "Heartbroken. Gary Brooker and Procol Harum have been lifelong favourites of mine. He was unparalleled as a vocalist, pianist, songwriter and bandleader. Rest in Peace."

Another added: "This is the most heart-wrenching, sad and tragic news I have ever seen/read/heard on Facebook. The light of day will no longer shine on brightly.

"A Salty Dog has run a'drift. The Conquistador has lain down his sword. The World has turned A WHITER SHADE OF PALE."

Along with his iconic career in Procol Harum, Gary was also known for touring with musicians such as Eric Clapton and Beatles legends Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney.

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