John Lawton, former singer for British rock icons Uriah Heep and German cult German rockers Lucifer's Friend, has died at the age of 74.

The news was confirmed on social media by Uriah Heep, who called the loss "devastating" while noting that Lawton was not known to be battling any significant health issues, making the death "totally unexpected."

"It is with deep regret that we share the devastating and tragic news of the sudden and totally unexpected passing of John Lawton on 29, June 2021," announced Uriah Heep.

"Contrary to reports, there was no illness involved, which makes his passing incomprehensible. He went peacefully with his wife at his side. John will be greatly missed," they added and further detailed,  "A private funeral service to celebrate John’s life will be held following his wishes, with only family and close friends attending. We would appreciate that the family’s privacy is respected during this difficult time."

Prior to joining Uriah Heep in 1976 as the replacement for David Byron, Lawton, who was born in Halifax, England on July 11, 1946, found success fronting both Lucifer's Friend and Les Humphries Singers, the former having gone on to receive cult acclaim as one of the earliest pioneers of doom metal, evidenced by aspects of their self-titled 1970 album.

Lucifer's Friend released a total of eight studio albums between 1970 and their dissolution in 1982, all but two of which starred Lawton. He later appeared on both reunion albums, 2016's Too Late to Hate and 2019's Black Moon.

Lawton's time in Heep was more short-lived but impactful, having contributed to Firefly and Innocent Victim, both of which were released in 1977, as well as the next year's Fallen Angel record. Due to internal issues between Lawton and the band, he was dismissed in 1979 and replaced by Lone Star singer John Sloman.

Loudwire extends our condolences to the Lawton family, the singer's bandmates, friends and all who knew him. Rest in peace.

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