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Music

Rock and roll musician Leon Russell dies aged 74

US musican and songwriter Leon Russell has died at the age of 74. He was best known for the songs "Shine a Light" and "A Song for You."

According to a statement posted on the artist's website, Leon Russell passed away in Nashville on Sunday.

"His wife said that he passed away in his sleep," the statement read.

Known in his 70s heyday as "the master of space and time," Russell's cocked top hat and salt-and-pepper hair became synonymous with his dynamic rock'n'roll performances.

Having started out as a highly sought-after studio pianist, he went on to record more than 35 albums and wrote for a plethora of other performers. 

"A Song For You," which was originally recorded by Russell for his 1970 self-titled debut album was later recorded by Joe Cocker, the Carpenters, the Temptations, Neil Diamond, Lou Rawls, Dusty Springfield, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and his good friend Willie Nelson.

Russell was inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame and the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 2011.

In his later years, the musician endured various health problems and in 2010 underwent surgery to stop leaking brain fluid. In July this year, he also suffered a heart attack.

ksb/rc (Reuters)