Richard “Rick” Wright, founding member and keyboardist of the legendary rock band Pink Floyd, died earlier today, September 15, after a battle with cancer. The self-taught musician was 65 years old.
“The family of Richard Wright, [founding] member of Pink Floyd, announce with great sadness that Richard died today after a short struggle with cancer,” Wright’s spokesman said in a statement. “The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this difficult time.”
In the mid-1960s, Wright formed Pink Floyd along with Roger Waters, Nick Mason, and former lead singer Syd Barrett. Though he never gained the same media attention as his bandmates, Wright made key contributions to the band throughout his time with the group.
Wright is best known for composing “The Great Gig in the Sky” and “Us and Them,” which both appeared on 1973’s iconic “Dark Side of the Moon” album. He also made essential contributions to the epic “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” and “Echoes,” among other Pink Floyd songs.
Though Wright left Pink Floyd in the early ’80s to pursue his own music, he continued to tour with the band as a session musician. In 2005, Wright reunited with the surviving members of Pink Floyd for a one-off performance at Live 8. Most recently, he played at a 2007 tribute to Barrett, appearing separately from Waters and David Gilmour.