Robert Thie, pianists who played with the late Grateful Dead guitarist, Jerry Garcia, and others, died Wednesday in Los Angeles, the band said.
He was 81.
Thie died in his sleep, said the band.
He worked with Garcia on three albums, including a trio with his son, Robert.
Garcia’s bandmates, who are also band members, released a statement thanking Thie.
“My beloved brother, father, and great friend, Robert, passed away on Wednesday night, August 30, 1981, after a battle with cancer,” said Garcia’s son, Keith Garcia.
“He was an incredible pianist who touched millions of people, including many who would never have known his music had he not been with us.”
Garcia said Thie had played on some of his songs, including “Black Muddy River,” “The Music Never Stopped” and “Blackbird.”
“He always had a smile on his face, always was ready to play, and he was one of the funniest and most energetic guys I’ve ever met,” Garcia said.
“We’ll miss him.”
The band played at Garcia’s home on Sunday, August 26, in San Diego, and a funeral service was planned for Wednesday.
Thies had been with the band for over 30 years, and was credited with bringing Garcia and the Dead to such fame.
Garcia is survived by his wife, Patti, and his three daughters, Jennifer, Emily and Rachel.
He also had three grandchildren, who will be in his care.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington