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Farewell: Uriah Heep co-founder Hensley dead

British rock legend Ken Hensley has died at the age of 75. The co-founder of the band Uriah Heep ("Lady in Black") fell asleep peacefully last Wednesday after a short illness, his management announced. "Hensley was one of the most important musicians of the past half century."

The guitarist, keyboardist, singer and songwriter is to be buried in Spain, where he lived on a farm with his wife Monica. She was also on his deathbed, as reported by Hensley's brother Trevor on Facebook. Hensley wrote wonderful songs, according to Uriah Heep musician Mick Box. The hard rock band is named after a character from the novel "David Copperfield" by Charles Dickens. Hensley's last project, "My Book Of Answers", will be out in February.

The London-born musician played with Uriah Heep between 1970 and 1980. But he had also worked with bands like Blackfoot, W.A.S.P. and Cinderella worked together and made a successful solo career, as his management emphasized on Friday.

However, he was unable to build on his earlier successes - and not everything in the rock star's life went smoothly. After a 20-year hiatus and drug withdrawal, he returned to the stage as a staunch Christian at the age of 62. He had drawn clear conclusions from his negative experiences, he said in an interview with the German press agency. "I've gotten cautious because the following things can cloud your senses: money, fame and drugs." He only miraculously escaped the drug swamp.

Hensley also had tips for younger musicians: "Only play what you really love yourself. Don't let yourself get bent." It is very important to him: "Even if you are number one, you have not reached a goal. It is just a stopover on a trip." About his success, he said in an interview with the dpa: "I should have earned an estimated 50 million pounds with the royalties from" Lady in Black "alone. Could be, but I spent 51 of them."

He recently had an interview in which he looked back on his successful time with Uriah Heep: "To tell the truth, it was all like a crazy dream," he told "Eon Music". In retrospect, did he regret breaking up with the successful rock band? No. "I'm happy with what I'm doing ... I've had such a wonderful life," said Hensley. He would never have believed he could achieve so much. "I can sit back and say: that was great, that was fantastic."

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 201106-99-237442 / 4 (dpa)

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