April 19th, 2013
12:44 PM ET
British graphic designer Storm Thorgerson, who created some of music's most iconic album artwork for rock bands such as Pink Floyd, has died at the age of 69.
In a statement posted to the website of Pink Floyd vocalist and guitarist David Gilmour, Thorgerson's family said he died Thursday afternoon.
"His ending was peaceful and he was surrounded by family and friends," the statement said. "He had been ill for some time with cancer though he had made a remarkable recovery from his stroke in 2003. He was in his 70th year."
According to the BBC, Thorgerson launched his career with the UK design group Hipgnosis in the late '60s and soon established himself as a designer to watch, thanks to his distinctive aesthetic.
He applied his creativity to album covers for a number of rock acts, including Led Zeppelin and Muse, but his work with Pink Floyd is among his most memorable. The artwork of the businessman on fire on "Wish You Were Here," the pig flying over Battersea Power Station on "Animals" and the prism emitting a rainbow of light for "Dark Side of the Moon" are all his handiwork.
Gilmour recalled in a statement that he met Thorgerson as a teen, when they "would gather at Sheep's Green, a spot by the river in Cambridge. ... Storm would always be there holding forth, making the most noise, bursting with ideas and enthusiasm. Nothing has ever really changed."
Thorgerson, Gilmour continued, "has been a constant force in my life, both at work and in private, a shoulder to cry on and a great friend. The artworks that he created for Pink Floyd from 1968 to the present day have been an inseparable part of our work. I will miss him."
According to Rolling Stone, the graphic designer initially wanted to be a filmmaker as he came of age in Cambridge but around the age of 15 changed his ambition to art.
In an interview with Cool Hunting in 2011, Thorgerson estimated that he'd designed about 300 album covers.
"I don't really keep count," he said. "I'm privileged to work with music, so I'm happy to work. ... As long as I can keep working, and paying the rent as they call it over in England, then I'm relatively happy."
According to the statement from his family, Thorgerson is survived by his mother, Vanji; his son, Bill; his wife, Barbie Antonis; and her two children.
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