69-year-old Springsteen saxophonist Clarence passes away in hospital surrounded by family – band leader Bruce says his “loss is immeasurable”

Clemons and Springsteen

Close friends: Clemons and Spingsteen

E Street Band Clarence Clemons has died after he suffered a stroke last weekend. He was 69.

Affectionately known as “The Big Man,” Clemons spent nearly four decades playing sax with Bruce Springsteen and his band.

He’d been hit by a series of health issues in recent years including back surgery and the replacement of both knees. Before his stroke he’d been forced to cancel an appearance at the NBA basketball finals two weeks ago following a hand injury.

Springsteen has paid tribute to close friend Clemons, saying the pair had become inseparable almost as soon as they met.

“His loss is immeasurable, and we’re honoured and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly 40 years,” the Boss says.

“He was my great friend and my partner. With Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music.

“His life, his memory and his love will live on in that story and in our band.”

Clemons started playing sax at the age of nine in his native Virginia, before moving to New Jersey, where he joined the E Street Band. He’s said of have met Springsteen when the frontman was performing and he invited himself onto the stage to join in.

He worked with the Grateful Dead, Aretha Franklin and Jackson Browne, amongst others, and his final public appearance was with Lady Gaga on the American Idol TV show in May.

He had been in a Florida hospital since the stroke, and was surrounded by his family when he passed away.

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