Flutist, singer and composer Ray Thomas of The Moody Blues has died at the age of 76. His music label, Esoteric Recordings/Cherry Red Records, revealed that Thomas died suddenly at his home in Surrey, south of London, on Jan. 4.
The label said in a statement over the weekend: “We are deeply shocked by his passing and will miss his warmth, humor 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.”
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.”
His death comes just a few months before the band is set to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, in April.
Thomas founded The Moody Blues with Mike Pinder and Denny Laine in 1964. He had previously performed with a handful of blues and soul groups. The Moody Blues signed with Decca Records, and their first album, “The Magnificent Moodies,” produced the single “Go Now,” which hit number one in the United Kingdom. Thomas also sang the vocals for “It Ain’t Necessarily So” from the musical “Porgy and Bess.”
One of their iconic progressive rock albums is 1967’s “Days of Future Passed,” featuring a flute solo by Thomas on “Nights in White Satin.” Thomas was also a writer, penning songs such as “Legend of a Mind” and “Veteran Cosmic Rocker.”
The group disbanded in 1974, and Thomas released two solo albums. When they reconnected following their hiatus, Thomas stayed on with The Moody Blues before retiring in 2002. While Thomas was most known for his fluting skills, he also played the piccolo, oboe, harmonica, saxophone, French horn, and tambourine.
His grandson, Marcus Thomas, wrote on Twitter: “I just want to thank everyone for their love & condolences through the process of everything happening with the loss of my grandfather #RayThomas On January 4th, 2018 the world lost a rock star & I’m blessed to be able to call you my grandpa & best of all to be a THOMAS.”