Kansas founding member, violinist and singer Robby Steinhardt has sadly died, aged 71, of complications from acute pancreatitis.
In a short statement, his family announced: "Robert Eugene Steinhardt, was well recognised as a founding member and original violinist and vocalist for the rock band Kansas. His violin and vocals on, Dust in The Wind, Point Of Know Return and Carry On Wayward Son, have etched Robby a solid place in rock history.
"Robby had been recording his new album with producer Michael Franklin, who put together an all-star cast of famous musicians in support of Robby’s comeback. Steinhardt was very proud of this project, slated for release in late 2021. He had begun rehearsals for a national tour when he became ill.
"Robby is survived by his wife Cindy, and daughter Becky. Steinhardt was 71 years old. He will be deeply missed by all he knew and his music will last forever. A memorial will be announced in the future."
Steinhardt had been a member of White Clover alongside Phil Ehart, Steve Walsh and Robbie Williams when they joined forces with guitarist Kerry Livgren, and the basis for Kansas as people knew them was born.
Steinhardt was co-lead singer and MC along with keyboardist Steve Walsh from 1973 to 1982 and from 1997 to 2006. Steinhardt was replaced in the band by Dave Ragsdale.
He and Steve Walsh are the only original members of the band who are not from Topeka, where the band formed.
Steinhardt's former band mates in Kansas paid tribute, saying: "The members of the band Kansas, past and present, wish to express our deepest sorrow over the death of our bandmate and friend, Robby Steinhardt.
"Robby will always be in our souls, in our minds, and in our music. What he brought to us as bandmates, to the fans who attended our concerts, and to the sound of Kansas, will always be heartfelt. We love him and will miss him always."