Pink Floyd Keyboardist Richard Wright Dead At 65
Founding member and songwriter had a 'short struggle with cancer,' spokesperson says.
Founding Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright died in England on Monday (September 15) at the age of 65 after a battle with cancer. No further information about the cause of Wright's death was available at press time, according to The Associated Press.
"The family of Richard Wright, founder member of Pink Floyd, announce with great sadness, that Richard died … after a short struggle with cancer," read a statement from a spokesperson. "The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this difficult time."
The self-taught keyboardist met bassist Roger Waters and drummer Nick Mason in architecture school and in 1964 joined their group Sigma 6, which eventually evolved into the Pink Floyd Sound. With the addition of late singer/guitarist Syd Barrett — who left the band in 1968 and died in 2006 of cancer — the group, now called Pink Floyd, began its rise as one of the most creative and powerful psychedelic bands on the British scene.
In that early period, along with Barrett, Wright was a major musical engine driving the band's pioneering experimental sound, penning the songs "The Great Gig in the Sky" and "Us and Them" on Floyd's legendary 1973 black-light rock opus, Dark Side of the Moon. He also added key vocals to the 1971 20-plus minute epic, "Echoes." He made significant contributions to the songs "Atom Heart Mother" and the Barrett tribute "Shine on You Crazy Diamond." However, along with Gilmour and Mason, Wright found his contributions diminishing as Waters increasingly dominated the band's songwriting and direction.
In a group whose history is rife with decades-long grudges, Wright was not immune to the inter-band drama, splitting with Floyd in 1979 during sessions for The Wall, due to his strained relationship with Waters. He returned to the group as a paid session musician for shows in 1980 and 1981, but he was not included on 1983's The Final Cut, the only Floyd album on which he didn't appear. Following Waters' departure, Wright rejoined the band in 1988. He played keyboards and sang on A Momentary Lapse of Reason and co-wrote five songs on 1994's The Division Bell.
Wright, who performed on every Floyd tour, was also onstage in 2005, when the surviving members of the band played a rapturously received reunion gig at the Live 8 concert. Wright released a handful of solo albums and appeared on records by Barrett, and he had been performing regularly with Floyd singer/guitarist David Gilmour.