Robby Steinhardt, the violinist, vocalist and original founding member of rock band Kansas, has died at 71.
The musician's wife, Cindy Steinhardt, confirmed in a Facebook post that he died on Saturday after spending several weeks in hospital fighting acute pancreatitis.
Robby had been admitted on May 13 and after 65 days, it appeared as if he was well on the road to recovery, Cindy explained. However, things took a turn for the worse over the weekend.
"We are beyond devastated as our lives were about to start a new adventure," Cindy wrote. "Robby just recorded his first solo album with the talented music producer Michael Franklin at Solar Studios. A tour to start in August, Robby was so looking forward to being back on stage doing what he loved."
Kansas also shared the news on Facebook.
"The members of the band KANSAS, past and present, wish to express our deepest sorrow over the death of our bandmate and friend, Robby Steinhardt," the band wrote. "Robby will always be in our souls, in our minds, and in our music. What he brought to us as bandmates, to the fans who attended our concerts, and to the sound of KANSAS, will always be heartfelt. We love him and will miss him always."
Robby joined Kansas, originally known as White Clover, in 1972, when the lineup featured Steve Walsh, Phil Ehart, and Rich Williams, according to Rolling Stone.
The following year the band received a record deal and soon released their debut album. It was at that time that they decided on the name Kansas. They went on to gain a strong following and released various other albums.
Robby left in 1982. During his hiatus, he formed the band Steinhardt Moon, which featured Rick Moon, according to Robby's official website. They toured Florida extensively over the years. In 1997, Robby returned to Kansas. He performed with them until 2006.
After that, Robby continued to pursue a musical career but a major heart attack forced him to put his passions on hold in 2013. He underwent a quadruple bypass and spent 52 days in hospital.
After that, Robby returned to the stage, making several guest appearances with his former band Steinhardt Moon, which had since changed its name to Stormbringer.
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