Greg Lake –  co-founder of pioneering prog-rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer – has passed away.

He was 69 years old.

The news comes just nine months after the death of Keith Emerson, Lake’s former bandmate and lifelong friend.

The band’s sole surviving founding member, Carl Palmer, broke the news just moments ago:

“It is with great sadness that I must now say goodbye to my friend and fellow bandmate, Greg Lake,” read a statement issued by Palmer.

“Greg’s soaring voice and skill as a musician will be remembered by all who knew his music and recordings he made with ELP and King Crimson.

“I have fond memories of those great years we had in the 1970s and many memorable shows we performed together. Having lost Keith this year as well has made this particularly hard for all of us.

“As Greg sang at the end of Pictures at an Exhibition, ‘death is life.’ His music can now live forever in the hearts of all who loved him.”

A skilled lyricist, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, many of Lake’s innovations would eventually become archetypal of the genre he helped to create.

After releasing six multi-platinum albums, ELP broke up in 1979 and reunited in 1991, before disbanding again and getting back together for a reunion tour in 2010.

Lake released several successful solo recordings, including “I Believe In Father Christmas”, which remains a seasonal staple in the U.K.

An outpouring of social media tributes quickly made Lake a trending topic on Twitter, with many remarking on the tremendous toll the past year has taken on the world of rock music or pointing out the sad irony of the singer of a beloved Christmas song passing just weeks before the holiday.

Lake was a member of the influential rock group King Crimson in the late ’60s, but it was his work with ELP that got the mainstream to stand up and take notice.

Band manager Stewart Young tells the press that Lake passed away after “a long and stubborn battle with cancer.”