British guitarist Alvin Lee died this morning following a "routine surgical procedure" according to his family. He was 68.
"With great sadness we have to announce that Alvin unexpectedly passed away early this morning after unforeseen complications following a routine surgical procedure," said a message on his site today. "We have lost a wonderful much loved father and companion, the world has lost a truly great and gifted musician. Jasmin, Evi and Suzanne."
Born in Nottingham and with his father being a record collector of various musical genres, Lee cut his proverbial teeth as a guitarist in the British group the Jaybirds, who honed their craft playing clubs in Hamburg, Germany. The band later changed its name to Ten Years After and released its self-titled debut in 1967. The group — who performed at Woodstock — recorded several studio albums throughout the late '60s and early '70s before splitting up. The group reunited for a one-off show at Britain's Reading Festival.
Lee branched out for a solo career marked by a stellar 1973 debut "On The Road To Freedom" which featured Steve Winwood, George Harrison, Ronnie Wood and Mick Fleetwood among others. The album was also a collaboration with Mylon LeFevre. Lee would also become a highly demanded musician, working with artists like Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley, Roger Daltrey and Rodney Crowell.
In 2004 Lee fulfilled a dream recording with guitarist Scotty Moore and drummer D.J. Fontana — two of the musicians who worked with Elvis in his early days — for his solo album "In Tennessee." In 2012 Lee would return to his solo debut in some capacity with a new studio effort called "Still On The Road To Freedom."
"I always liked that first solo album," Lee said in a 2012 interview with Vintage Rock. "It was a bit of a landmark being my first solo album. So I thought I'd write a song about still being on the road to freedom. And I go back and see the same guy there 40 years ago."
Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.