Robby Steinhardt, Kansas Singer and Violinist, Dead at 71

Robby Steinhardt, violinist and co-lead vocalist with the rock band Kansas, died Saturday due to complications from pancreatitis. He was 71. Steinhardt’s wife, Cindy Steinhardt, confirmed his death on Facebook, sharing with followers that her husband was admitted to the hospital with acute pancreatitis in May. Soon after, he went into acute septic shock and was placed on life support but managed to recover from the "very grave" diagnosis.

Unfortunately, just as he was about to be released from medical care and moved to a rehab center several months later, Steinhardt developed sepsis once again, passing away as the result. "We are beyond devastated as our lives were about to start a new adventure," Cindy wrote. "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."

"I’ve always tried to share our lives with you but I ask you to please respect this heavy time of grief," she continued. "I encourage you to share your stories and pictures of Robby on his page. My only regret is that I can’t share them with him to show him how much he is loved." Fans and friends were quick to weigh in on the post, with one person commenting, "Prayers and condolences to you Cindy. He was an amazing man and friend."

Kansas issued a statement as well, saying, "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. Robby will always be in our souls, in our minds, and in our music. What he brought to us as bandmates, to the fans who attended our concerts, and to the sound of Kansas, will always be heartfelt."

Steinhardt, born in Lawrence, Kansas, was an original member of the progressive band, forming the group with Topeka West High School graduates Kerry Livgren, Rich Williams, Phil Ehart and Dave Hope and with Steve Walsh, who grew up in St. Joseph, Missouri. Steinhardt performed with Kansas from 1973 to 1982 and 1997 to 2006. In 2013, Steinhardt suffered a heart attack, but soon returned to music.