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U.S. rock star Bruce Springsteen, right, and saxophone player Clarence Clemons perform on stage. Clemons, a key influence in Springsteens life and music through four decades, has died. He was 69. - Provided courtesy of AP / Bob Child

E Street Band saxophone player Clarence Clemons dies

06/18/2011 by Willian Avila

Clarence Clemons, the E Street Band saxophone player who was a key influence in Bruce Springsteen's life and music through four decades, has died. He was 69.

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Clemons died Saturday from complications from a stroke that left him hospitalized about a week ago, according to spokeswoman Marilyn Laverty.

Known as the Big Man for his imposing 6-foot-5-inch, 270-plus pound frame, Clemons had been slowed by health woes in recent years.

He endured major spinal surgery in January 2010 and, at the 2009 Super Bowl, Clemons rose from a wheelchair to perform with Springsteen after double knee replacement surgery.

Clemons was an original member - and the oldest member - of the E Street Band. He spent much of his life with The Boss, but also performed with the Grateful Dead, the Jerry Garcia Band, and Ringo Starr's All Star Band. He recorded with a wide range of artists including Aretha Franklin, Roy Orbison and Jackson Browne. He also had his own band called the Temple of Soul.

His ever-present saxophone and his booming saxophone solos became a signature sound for the E Street Band on many key songs, including "Jungleland," and "Born To Run."

Born in Norfolk, Va., Clemons was the grandson of a Baptist minister and began playing the saxophone when he was 9.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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