Moody Blues star Ray Thomas passed away after a four year battle with prostate cancer.
However, despite his illness, the singer’s death was said to be unexpected as his label expressed their ‘shock’ at his passing.
He died at his Surrey home on Thursday 4 Jan after revealing a cancer diagnosis in 2014.
In a statement, his record label said: ‘It is with profound sorrow and sadness that Cherry Red Records and Esoteric Recordings regret to announce that Ray Thomas, founder member, flautist and vocalist of the Moody Blues, passed away suddenly at his home in Surrey on Thursday.
‘We are deeply shocked by his passing and will miss his warmth, humour and kindness. 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.’
The singer and songwriter retired in 1999 after suffering from ill health, then later announced his cancer diagnosis in 2014.
In a statement released at the time, he said: ‘My cancer was inoperable but I have a fantastic doctor who immediately started me on a new treatment that has had 90% success rate.
‘The cancer is being held in remission but I’ll be receiving this treatment for the rest of my life.
‘I have four close friends who have all endured some kind of surgery or treatment for this cancer and all are doing well.
‘While I don’t like to talk publicly about my health problems, after Alvin [Stardust]’s death, I decided it was time I spoke out.
‘A cancer diagnosis can shake your world and your family’s but if caught in time it can be cured or held in remission.
‘I urge all males to get tested NOW. Don’t put it off by thinking it won’t happen to me. It needs to be caught early.
‘It’s only a blood test – a few minutes out your day to save yourself from this disease. Love and God Bless, Ray.’
The Moody Blues were formed in 1964 with Mike Pinder, Denny Laine, Graeme Edge, and Clint Warwick. They enjoyed success with their hit singles Nights In White Satin and Go Now. They have sold 70 million albums globally.
The Birmingham band, known for Ray’s finely crafted flute melodies, have sold 70 million albums globally.