Allen Lanier, who played keyboard for Blue Oyster Cult from its inception up until his retirement in 2006, has died at the age of 66. Both the band and Eric Bloom confirmed the news on their Facebook page Wednesday night.
Lanier had been battling Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, a condition that restricts breathing that is usually brought about by smoking cigarettes, something Lanier struggled with for years.
Here’s the full statement from Eric Bloom on Facebook:
My great friend Allen Lanier has passed. I’ll miss the guy even though we hadn’t spoken in awhile. He was so talented as a musician and a thinker. He read voraciously, all kinds of things, especially comparative religion. We drove for years together, shared rooms in the early days. We partied, laughed, played.
All BOC fans and band members will mourn his death. Ultimately smoking finally got to him. He had been hospitalized with C.O.P.D. It was Allen who heard some old college band tapes of mine and suggested I get a shot as the singer in 1968. A lot of great memories, over 40 years worth. Maybe he’s playing a tune with Jim Carroll right now.
Despite retiring in 2006, Lanier reunited with Blue Oyster Cult last November at the band’s 40th anniversary concert in New York.