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Clarence Clemons, E Street Band Saxophonist, Dead at 69

Harry Scott/Redferns(PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- E Street Band saxophone player Clarence "Big Man" Clemons has died from complications stemming from a stroke he suffered last week, a spokeswoman has confirmed to The New York Times.  He was 69 years old and had suffered numerous health problems in recent years. Clemons died in a hospital in Palm Beach, Florida.

Since the early 1970s, Clemons' saxophone had been an integral part of Bruce Springsteen's music, and the onstage camaraderie between the two men was a key element to the E Street Band's marathon live shows.  It is Clemons who appears with Springsteen on the cover of his seminal 1975 album Born to Run -- one of rock's most iconic images.  Clemons' solo on that album's closing track "Jungleland" is generally considered one of his finest recorded moments.

Clemons' last appearance onstage with Springsteen was in December, when he and the original members of the E Street Band played a special show in Asbury Park, N.J., highlighting songs from the album The Promise.

In addition to his work with Springsteen, Clemons also played and recorded with artists ranging from Aretha Franklin, Jackson Browne and Roy Orbison, to Ringo Starr, the Grateful Dead, Joe Cocker and, most recently, Lady Gaga.  Clemons played on two tracks from her #1 album, Born This Way, including the current top 10 hit "The Edge of Glory."  He can also be seen in that song's video, which just debuted this past week.

A larger-than-life figure, Clemons also appeared in the movie New York, New York, as well as other films, and in the TV show Diff'rent Strokes.  In 2009, he published his autobiography, Big Man: Real Life and Tall Tales.  He was married five times, and is survived by his fifth wife, Victoria, as well as by four sons.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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