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PASSINGS / Guy Graham Babylon

Keyboard player for Elton John's band

September 19, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Guy Graham Babylon, 52, a Grammy Award-winning musician who played keyboards with Elton John's band for more than 20 years, died of arrhythmia Sept. 2 at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks.

Babylon, an Agoura Hills resident who swam competitively during his youth in Baltimore, was stricken while swimming and later pronounced dead at the hospital.

"I am devastated and heartbroken at the death of Guy Babylon," John wrote in a tribute on his website. "He was one of the most brilliant musicians I ever knew, a true genius, a gentle angel -- and I loved him so much."

Born Dec. 20, 1956, in Baltimore, Babylon attended the University of South Florida on a swimming scholarship, and earned a bachelor's degree in music composition in 1979.

He moved to California and found work as a session musician. He joined John's band as second keyboardist in 1988 and four years later became lead keyboardist.

In addition to recording 12 albums with John, Babylon recorded with such artists as Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Fats Domino, B.B. King and Dwight Twilley.

Along with three other producers, an engineer/mixer, lyricist Tim Rice and composer John, Babylon shared a Grammy for the 2000 Broadway musical "Aida." In 2006, he was supervisor and orchestrator for the Broadway show "Lestat."

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news.obits@latimes.com

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