TAMPA, FL (CelebrityAccess) — Robert Eugene Steinhardt, a rock violinist, vocalist, and early member of the progressive rock band Kansas, has died from complications of pancreatitis. He was 71.
His wife, Cindy Steinhardt, said on social media that he died on Saturday at a hospital in Tampa, Florida.
Born in Illinois, but raised in Lawrence, Kansas, Steinhardt joined an early incarnation of the band Kansas in 1973, playing violin and serving as co-vocalist for the group alongside keyboardist Steve Walsh.
Steinhardt’s violin worked helped to shape the early distinctive sound of the band such as on their 1977 hit “Dust in the Wind.”
In 1983, Steinhardt did not turn up at the studio to help the band record their ninth studio album, Drastic Measures, and soon left the group, reportedly for personal reasons.
After his departure, he fronted his own group Steinhardt-Moon, and performed with the band Stormbringer in the early 1990s.
In 1997, he rejoined Kansas, stepping in after the departure of keyboardist and backing vocalist Greg Robert, and violinist David Ragsdale.
After rejoining Kansas, Steinhardt toured with the group who were on the road every year and stepped back into his roles as the master of ceremonies for the band’s live shows.
However, after a decade he stepped back by mutual agreement after the life of a touring musician began to wear on him. His departure in March 2006 delayed the band’s tour that year by several weeks.
In 2013, Steinhardt was scheduled to take part in a special concert to mark the 40th anniversary of Kansas but had to bow out of the show at the last minute after suffering a serious heart attack.
Steinhardt was reportedly working on new material at the time of his passing and was hoping to tour behind the solo project.
In a statement posted to their Facebook page following Steinhardt’s passing, the current members of Kansas said:
He is survived by his wife Cindy and daughter Becky.