Monty Python collaborator Neil Innes dies at age 75

Neil Innes attends "50 Years: The Beatles" panel discussion at Ed Sullivan Theater on February 9, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)

LONDON (AP) — Comedic writer and actor Neil Innes, who created a Beatles parody group called the Rutles and frequently worked with the members of Monty Python, has died at age 75, his agent confirmed Monday.

Innes died of natural causes Sunday night, agent Nigel Morton said.

A statement released on behalf of his family 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,” the statement said. “He died of natural causes quickly without warning and, I think, without pain.”

Innes was such a frequent collaborator of 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 “Life of Brian” and toured the U.K. and Canada with the group.

He was also a member of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, later renamed the Bonzo Dog Band. One of the band’s hit songs, “I’m The Urban Spaceman,” won Innes an Ivor Novello award.

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

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