MUSIC NEWS- Ray Thomas, one of the founding members of British rock group The Moody Blues, has died at 76, a few months before the band will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
His music label, Esoteric Recordings/Cherry Red Records, announced Thomas died suddenly Thursday at his home in Surrey, south of London. "We are deeply shocked by his passing and will miss his warmth, humor and kindness," the label said Sunday. "It was a privilege to have known and worked with him and our thoughts are with his family and his wife Lee at this sad time."
No cause of death was given, but Thomas disclosed in 2014 that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Born in 1941, Thomas performed in rock and blues bands in the Midlands city of Birmingham before founding The Moody Blues in 1964 with several musicians, including Mike Pinder and Denny Laine.
The band's musical roots lay in the blues and R&B, but its 1964 hit "Go Now" was a foretaste of the lush, orchestral sound that became known as progressive rock. The Moody Blues' 1967 album "Days of Future Passed" is a prog-rock landmark and classic album, and Thomas's flute solo on the single "Nights in White Satin" (below) one of its defining moments.