Louis Clark, the string arranger and conductor who enriched Electric Light Orchestra‘s music in the ’70s and ’80s, reportedly died Saturday, Feb. 12, at the age of 73.
The musician’s wife, Gloria, announced the news on Facebook. Though a cause of death has not been revealed, Clark had apparently been “ill for many months.”
“He passed very peacefully surrounded by love,” she wrote. “This morning he watched premier league soccer and listened to the Beatles, two things he loved. This afternoon I told him I loved him, he said I love you too, and we kissed. He was gone five minutes later. We love this man forever and always.”
Clark, born Feb. 27, 1947 in Kempston, England, studied orchestration at Leeds College of Music. He first collaborated with ELO on their 1974 LP, Eldorado, conducting the orchestra and collaborating with singer-songwriter Jeff Lynne and keyboardist Richard Tandy on the arrangements.
He continued with the progressive pop band across multiple albums, including 1975’s Face the Music, 1976’s A New World Record, 1977’s Out of the Blue, 1979’s Discovery and the soundtrack to the 1980 Olivia Newton-John film Xanadu.
Clark was prolific outside of that group, working with Ozzy Osbourne (1981’s Diary of a Madman, 1983’s Bark at the Moon), Asia, Air Supply, America, Roy Orbison, City Boy and Renaissance, among others. In 1981, he and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra released the first installment of their Hooked on Classics series, featuring beat-heavy reworking of famous classical pieces.
Since 2000, Clark had worked with ELO offshoot band the Orchestra alongside former ELO violinist Mik Kaminski.