Clarence Clemons, Bruce Springsteen's longtime saxophone player and a legend in the music industry, died Saturday from complications following a stroke he suffered about a week ago.
Clemons' sax has been one of the most defining elements of the E Street Band's sound. He has suffered from numerous ailments over the last few years. He had double knee surgery and even had to perform from a wheelchair at one point.
But his health seemed to be improving. Just last month, he performed with Lady Gaga on the season finale of "American Idol."
Pictures: Bruce Springsteen
Clemons scored a Top 20 hit in 1985 with the song "You're a Friend of Mine," a duet with Jackson Browne that appears on Clemons' album "Hero." Clemons was 69 years old.
The Newark Star-Ledger reports that: "Springsteen's oft-told story of his initial meeting with Clemons felt Biblical: with a lightning storm raging outside, the Big Man tore the door off an Asbury Park club, strode onstage, and made magic. Springsteen would later immortalize this meeting in "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out," a song on "Born to Run.""
Clemons was born in Norfolk, Va., to a Baptist minister who had no love for rock 'n' roll, The Star-Ledger reports. However, he got a saxophone at age 9, and when a car accident ruined his budding football career after college, he dedicated himself to music.
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