Syd Barrett (left) with a '60s-era Pink Floyd
07/11/2006 AT 11:00 AM EDT
Pink Floyd co-founder Syd Barrett has died, a spokeswoman for the band said Tuesday. He was 60.
The London-based rep declined to give specifics about when or how the brilliant yet reclusive musician passed away, though she did say the death occurred some days ago. Barrett, who chose to remain anonymous over the past several years, had a long history of diabetes.
Born in Cambridge as Roger Keith Barrett (he acquired the nickname Syd at 15), Barrett, a guitarist, wrote many of Pink Floyd's early songs and launched the group in 1965, along with Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Rick Wright. Their first hit album was 1967's The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, which perfectly underscored the British capital's drug-infused pop scene.
Barrett's own LSD use further exacerbated his mental instability, and he eventually split from the band in 1968 – five years before the release of Pink Floyd's most popular album, Dark Side of the Moon. His replacement was David Gilmour.
Barrett released two solo albums – The Madcap Laughs and Barrett – but soon withdrew from the music business altogether, spending much of the rest of his life living quietly in his hometown of Cambridge. There, he was a familiar figure, often seen cycling or walking to the corner store, reports the Associated Press.
The band's spokeswoman said there would be a small, private funeral.