Rock drummer Ed Cassidy has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 89.

The musician passed away on 6 December (12) in San Jose, California.

Cassidy started out in the industry playing with jazz musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan and Cannonball Adderly, before appearing in folk/blues group Rising Sons.

He later rose to fame in the late 1960s as a member of experimental jazz-rockers Spirit, in which he performed alongside his stepson, guitarist Randy Wolfe, who was later nicknamed Randy California by rock icon Jimi Hendrix.

Spirit scored hits with tracks like I Got a Line on You and Mr. Skin, from the group's celebrated 1970 album Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, and kept on rocking until its split in 1996.

Wolfe tragically died in a drowning accident in Hawaii in 1997.