Monty Python star Neil Innes dead at 75

Comedic writer and actor Neil Innes, who created a Beatles parody group called the Rutles and frequently worked with the members of the beloved British comedy troupe Monty Python, has died at age 75, his agent, Nigel Morton, confirmed Monday.

The comedian and musician died of natural causes Sunday night, Morton said.

“We have lost a beautiful, kind, gentle soul whose music and songs touched the heart of everyone and whose intellect and search for truth inspired us all,” a statement released on behalf of his family Monday said.

“He died of natural causes quickly without warning and, I think, without pain.”

From left: John Cleese, Neil Innes, Michael Palin and Eric Idle dressed as Arthurian knights on the set of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, May 21, 1974. (John Downing/Express/Getty Images)

Innes was such a frequent collaborator with the Monty Python troupe that he sometimes was called the “seventh Python.” A musician as well as a writer, he wrote songs for the popular film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, appeared in Monty Python’s Life of Brian and toured the U.K. and Canada with the group.

He was also a member of the band the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, later renamed the Bonzo Dog Band, whose song I’m The Urban Spaceman won him an Ivor Novello award.

Colleagues have been paying tributes to Innes on Twitter, including the prominent British actor Mark Gatiss, who fondly wrote in tribute, “Sweet dreams, sweet idiot.”

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