John Renbourn dies at 70; guitarist was founding member of Pentangle quintet

John Renbourn, masterful acoustic guitarist and founding member of Pentangle quintet in the 1960s, has died

John Renbourn, a masterful acoustic guitarist and founding member of the Pentangle quintet in the 1960s, has died at his home in Scotland. He was 70.

His manager, Dave Smith, called Renbourn "a huge character." He said he believed Renbourn suffered a heart attack.

"He was always playing and teaching. That is what he loved doing and he never stopped," Smith said.

Scottish police said his body was discovered Thursday night at his home in the Scottish Borders region. They said there were no suspicious circumstances.

Renbourn teamed with the late Bert Jansch and others to form Pentangle, an ensemble that enjoyed a wide reputation for playing both contemporary and traditional folk songs, jazz and blues.

They played complicated ballads and folk tales from the Renaissance, bringing centuries-old music to contemporary audiences.

The band broke up in 1973, and Renbourn continued to play on his own and with other musicians.

"He was a very inspirational performer, widely known all over the world, even though it was not mainstream music," Smith said. "When they emerged, no one else was doing it. It was a totally new approach."

Renbourn was born in London in 1944, learned to play piano as a child and started playing guitar as a teenager. He met Jansch when they were playing at clubs in London, and the two musicians shared an apartment and began collaborating.

Renbourn is survived by two sons and a daughter.

Katz writes for the Associated Press.

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