Blue Oyster Cult founding member Allen Lanier has died at the age of 67.

The keyboardist/guitarist passed away in hospital after a fight with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Copd), a lung disease commonly associated with smoking. No further details surrounding his death were available at the time Wenn goes to press.

Frontman Eric Bloom broke the news on the band's page on Wednesday (14Aug13), writing, “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 (sic) fans and band members will mourn his death. Ultimately smoking finally got to him. He had been hospitalized (sic) 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 (punk writer) Jim Carroll right now."

Lanier, who was the one-time partner of singer Patti Smith, was with Blue Oyster Cult for almost 20 years from 1967 to 1985 when he left, only to return two years later (1987).

He retired from performing with the band in 2006 and co-wrote several of the band's hit songs including True Confessions, Tenderloin and Lonely Teardrops.