Ray Thomas, flautist, vocalist and founding member of the Moody Blues, died Thursday at the age of 76. While no cause of death was given, in 2013, Thomas revealed that he was suffering from “in-operable” prostate cancer. Thomas’ label Esoteric Recordings/Cherry Red Records confirmed the multi-instrumentalist’s death on Facebook, adding that Thomas died suddenly at his home in Surrey, England.
In 1964, Thomas and keyboardist Mike Pinder formed the Moody Blues alongside drummer Graeme Edge, bassist Clint Warwick and guitarist Denny Laine. That lineup would release the hit “Go Now” (Laine on lead vocals). The band would soon replace Laine with Justin Hayward and Warwick with John Lodge to form the band’s classic lineup.
As flautist, multi-instrumentalist and singer in the Moody Blues, Thomas appeared on all of the prog rock band’s monumental albums – including their classic LPs ‘Days of Future Passed,’ ‘In Search of the Lost Chord,’ ‘A Question of Balance‘ and ‘Every Good Boy Deserves Favour’ – until his retirement in 2002.
Last month it was announced that the Moody Blues would be inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame. Justin Hayward had indicated that Thomas would be part of a band reunion at the induction, which now carries a more poignant meaning.