Clarence Clemons, the uniquely talented saxophonist who was an integral part of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band for almost 40 years, has died of a stroke aged 69 following complications from a massive stroke he suffered last weekend.

Clemons was no mere session muso – as one of the most important members of the E Street Band his sax playing formed a massive part of many of The Boss’ hits, and made him arguably the best known sax player in rock n’ roll. At this stage it is unknown whether another sax player will be sought for the E Street Band, or if indeed it will even retain its name, he was such a vital cog in the band.

Springsteen has issued a statement on his website, saying “Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honoured and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly forty 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.”