COUNTY Durham rock and roll musician Alan White has died at the age of 72 after his band Yes announced the news earlier today (May 26).

The musician, who was born in 1949 in Pelton, County Durham, died peacefully at home after a short illness.

He moved to Ferryhill at the age of seven, where he spent the whole of his childhood. It was there that the musician joined his first band, The Downbeats, at the age of 13, where they became popular on the North East music scene. 

“The news has shocked and stunned the entire Yes family,” the band said.

They said White had been “looking forward” to the forthcoming UK tour and to celebrating his 50th anniversary with Yes, who he joined in 1972 for their Close to the Edge tour.

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Several health setbacks since 2016 had limited White’s appearances on recent tours, when he joined the group on stage towards the end of each set “to great applause”, Yes said.

White’s bandmates said they will dedicate their Close to the Edge UK tour in June to their “much-loved drummer”.

Yes was founded by former frontman Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire in 1968 in London, alongside guitarist Peter Banks, keyboardist Tony Kaye and drummer Bill Bruford.

The famous progressive rock band went through numerous line-up changes featuring stars such as White and Rick Wakeman, exploring many musical styles.

Their hits include Owner Of A Lonely Heart, Roundabout and Long Distance Runaround.

Yes were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017, alongside Joan Baez, Electric Light Orchestra and Journey.

During his long music career, White also worked with stars including John Lennon, George Harrison and Joe Cocker.

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