Robby Steinhardt Dies: Violinist, Founding Member Of Rock Band Kansas Was 71

Along with Kansas' two big pop hits, its best-known songs include "Point of Know Return," "Portrait (He Knew)," "People of the South Wind," "Hold On," " Play the Game Tonight," "Fight Fire with Fire" and "All I Wanted." Steinhardt's violin was prominent throughout.
Both of those singles are certified platinum. Steinhardt shared vocal duties with band member Steve Walsh, his violin giving the hard rock ensemble a distinctive sound. The following year's "Dust in the Wind," from the album Point of Know Return, would become an even bigger hit and remains a classic rock anthem. The group released its self-titled album in 1973, and by 1976, with the album Leftoverture and its hit single “Carry on Wayward Son," Kansas had become a '70s rock radio staple.
In her Facebook announcement, Cindy Steinhardt wrote, "We are beyond devastated as our lives were about to start a new adventure. Robby just recorded his first solo album with the talented music producer Michael Franklin at Solar Studios. A tour to start in August, Robby was so looking forward to being back on stage doing what he loved."
Robby Steinhardt, the violinist, co-founder and co-lead vocalist of the rock band Kansas, died Saturday several months after seeming to recover from acute septic shock at a Tampa hospital following a case of pancreatitis. He was 71.
In a statement today, the band wrote: "The members of the band Kansas, past and present, wish to express our deepest sorrow over the death of our bandmate and friend, Robby Steinhardt. What he brought to us as bandmates, to the fans who attended our concerts, and to the sound of Kansas, will always be heartfelt. Robby will always be in our souls, in our minds, and in our music. We love him and will miss him always."
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His death was announced by both his wife, Cindy Steinhardt, and the band. Although he recovered and was about to be released from medical care, he suffered another bout with sepsis. According to Cindy Steinhardt, the musician suffered pancreatitis in May and was placed on life support following acute septic shock.
The group often is associated with the prog-pop sound of the late 1970s, along with such acts as Styx and Supertramp, but others lumped Kansas in with the era's mega-selling "corporate rock" of Boston, Journey, Foreigner and others. Leftoverture and Point of Know Return each has sold 4 million-plus units, and the group's 1984 compilation disc The Best of Kansas also has been certified quadruple-platinum. From 1973-80, Kansas recorded eight albums that went gold of platinum including the 1979 live set Two for the Show.
The group would change its name to Kansas the following year. Although he had studied classical violin, he joined a Topeka-based rock band named White Clover in 1972. A Chicago native, Steinhardt was only a year old when his family relocated to Lawrence, KS, where he grew up.

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