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Syd Barett passes away

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

London (Reuters): Syd Barrett, a founding member of British rock group Pink Floyd, has died aged 60, a source close to the band said today. ''I have had it from David (Gilmour) that it was confirmed by the family,'' said the source, who did not want to be named. ''It happened on Friday''. Guitarist David Gilmour joined Pink Floyd in 1968, three years after it was formed and shortly before Barrett left the band. Barrett, a singer, songwriter and guitarist, had lived the life of a recluse for the last 30 years. He had been suffering from diabetes, although it was not immediately clear what caused his death.

The writer of the bulk of Pink Floyd's early music, Barrett had been credited with helping to shape its progressive sound. His increasingly erratic behaviour in the late 1960s has been linked to his experimentation with psychedelic drugs. Pink Floyd's 1975 track ''Shine On You Crazy Diamond'', from the album ''Wish You Were Here'', is widely believed to be a tribute to Barrett. He was born in Cambridge, England, as Roger Keith Barrett, and acquired the nickname ''Syd'' when he was 15 years old. He missed out on Pink Floyd's most successful years in the 1970s, which included the albums ''Dark Side of the Moon'', ''Wish You Were Here'' and ''The Wall''.

The band has sold an estimated 200 million albums worldwide, although internal rifts have kept public performances featuring its main members to a minimum since the 1980s. The singer and guitarist, who left the band in 1968 and has lived the life of a recluse for the last 30 years, had been suffering from diabetes, but it was not immediately clear what caused his death.

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