Billy Preston Dead At 59
Legendary keyboard player BILLY PRESTON has died after a lengthy battle with kidney problems. He was 59. Preston, who performed with both THE BEATLES and the ROLLING STONES, has been in a coma in a care facility since late last year (05) and was taken to hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona on Saturday (04JUN06) when his condition turned critical. He passed away earlier today (06JUN06). The rocker had battled chronic kidney failure and underwent a transplant in 2002, but the organ failed and he has been on dialysis treatments ever since, according to his longtime manager JOYCE MOORE. In a statement, Moore insists Preston's death was peaceful and painless: "He had a really beautiful passing." Preston was a child prodigy on the organ and piano and began his career at the tender age of 10, playing keyboards for gospel great MAHALIA JACKSON in the mid-1950s. Just a few years later he was touring with another piano great, LITTLE RICHARD, before becoming a renowned session organist and pianist, appearing on classic albums, like the Beatles' LET IT BE. He also enjoyed his own hits with tunes like OUTTA SPACE, NOTHING FROM NOTHING and WITH YOU I'M BORN AGAIN - a duet with SYREETA WRIGHT. He won a Grammy Award in 1973 for Outta Space.