Ray Thomas, the original flute player and occasional singer in The Moody Blues, whose election to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was announced last month, has died. He had just turned 76 and had been suffering from prostate cancer for a number of years.

Thomas was a co-founder of the group and the composer of many of its songs. He also released several solo albums in the 1970s.

His label issued a statement saying, “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 4th January.¬†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.”

Thomas retired from the band in 2002 for health reasons.

The Moody Blues will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April.

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