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CLARENCE CLEMONS, the legendary saxophonist for BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN'S E Street Band, has died

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Clarence-Clemons-diesCLARENCE CLEMONS, the legendary saxophone player in BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN'S  E Street Band, has died at the age of 69.

 

He suffered a stroke a week ago and died on Saturday night.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN wrote in a statement on his website: “We are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly 40 years.

“He was my great friend, my partner and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music.

“His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.”

Clemons, known as The Big Man for his imposing 6ft 5ins, 19st frame, worked for much of  his life with Springsteen and his thrilling sax solos were a key part of their success, especially in the Born To Run era.

A sign outside the legendary Asbury Park, New Jersey, rock club The Stone Pony where the E Street band was born read: “RIP Big Man.”

In recent years, Clemons had suffered ill health and he underwent major spinal surgery in January 2010.

But fans hoped he was on the mend and in May he performed with Lady Gaga on the season finale of "American Idol" and performed on two songs on her "Born This Way" album.

Throughout, this son of a baptist minister from Norfolk, Virginia, remained philosopical and said: “God will give you no more than you can handle.

“This is all a test to see if you are really ready for the good things that are going to come in your life. All this pain is going to come back and make me stronger.”

He recorded with a wide range of artists including Aretha Franklin, Roy Orbison and Jackson Browne. He also had his own band called the Temple of Soul.

He officially joined the E Street Band in 1973 with the release of the debut album Greetings from Asbury Park.

He had described his deep friendship with Springsteen, saying: “It's the most passion that you have without sex.

“It's love. It's two men — two strong, very virile men — finding that space in life where they can let go enough of their masculinity to feel the passion of love and respect and trust.”

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