Allen Glover Lanier, keyboardist/guitarist and founding member of Blue Ӧyster Cult, has died at age 67, reports the band's Facebook page.
"We have extremely sad news to report," a posting on the page indicated on Wednesday night. "We've lost our friend and bandmate Allen Lanier. Allen succumbed to complications from C.O.P.D. He is survived by his wife Dory, sister Mary Anne and mother Martha."
"C.O.P.D." refers to "chronic obstructive pulmonary disease," which the NIH calls a "progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe." The site notes that the leading cause of COPD is cigarette smoking.
The statement continued, "Although he retired from touring in 2006 Allen returned to the stage for what turned out to be his final appearance, reuniting with BӦC at the 40th Anniversary show in New York this past November.
"DFTR sweet man. We love you and miss you," the statement ended.
("DFTR" refers to the band's No. 12 hit from 1976, "(Don't Fear) the Reaper," a song that enjoyed reignited fame in 2000 after a "Saturday Night Live" sketch featuring Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell purported to show the recording of the song, which required "more cowbell.")
The band formed in New York in the late 1960s and originally called themselves Soft White Underbelly. Their debut album as Blue Ӧyster Cult was released in 1972. According to the band's website, he was called their "very own mysterious 'Cigarette Smoking Man,'" a reference to a character on "The X-Files."
Vocalist Eric Bloom also posted about Lanier's death on his own Facebook page, noting, "My great friend Allen Lanier has passed. I'll miss the guy even though we hadn't spoken in awhile. He was so talented as a musician and a thinker. He read voraciously, all kinds of things, especially comparative religion.
"We drove for years together, shared rooms in the early days. We partied, laughed, played. All BOC fans and band members will mourn his death. Ultimately smoking finally got to him. He had been hospitalized with C.O.P.D. It was Allen who heard some old college band tapes of mine and suggested I get a shot as the singer in 1968. A lot of great memories, over 40 years worth. Maybe he's playing a tune with Jim Carroll right now."