Gary Brooker, lead singer of Procol Harum, dies aged 76

22 February 2022, 17:29

Procol Harum lead singer Gary Brooker has died at the age of 76
Procol Harum lead singer Gary Brooker has died at the age of 76. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Procol Harum lead singer Gary Brooker has died at the age of 76 after a battle with cancer.

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The star co-wrote the psychedelic rock band 's 1967 hit A Whiter Shade of Pale and toured with Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr.

A statement on the group's website said: "With the deepest regret we must announce the death on 19 February 2022 of Gary Brooker MBE, singer, pianist and composer of Procol Harum, and a brightly-shining, irreplaceable light in the music industry.

"Aged 76, he had been receiving treatment for cancer, but died peacefully at home."

The band added: "He lit up any room he entered, and his kindness to a multilingual family of fans was legendary.

"He was notable for his individuality, integrity, and occasionally stubborn eccentricity.

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The star co-wrote the psychedelic rock band 's 1967 hit A Whiter Shade of Pale
The star co-wrote the psychedelic rock band 's 1967 hit A Whiter Shade of Pale. Picture: Alamy

"His mordant wit, and appetite for the ridiculous, made him a priceless raconteur (and his surreal inter-song banter made a fascinating contrast with the gravitas of Procol Harum’s performances)."

Tributes from fans, friends and musicians have begun rolling in,with Martin Knight writing: "R. I. P. Gary Brooker who has skipped the light fandango.

"Procol Harum’s A Whiter Shade Of Pale wrong footed the pop music loving public with its dreamy, powerful eccentricity & it took the Beatles with All You Need Is Love to dislodge them from No. 1 in the 1967 summer of love."

He leaves behind wife Françoise Riedo, known as Franky, who he married in 1968 after meeting three years earlier.

Brooker was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2003 for his charitable services.

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