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Chieftains harpist dead at 67

By JAM! Music

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Derek Bell, harpist for traditional Irish group The Chieftains, has died suddenly in the U.S., Pollstar reports. He was 67.

The band issued a statement saying: "Following a recent concert in the U.S., Derek had remained behind for minor surgery and a number of routine health checks. He had just been given the all-clear to return home, so his death comes as a great shock to all those close to him."

Bell joined the group in 1972 after a stint in the Northern Ireland BBC Orchestra and came in as the band was gaining popularity in the U.S.

Bell also established himself as a successful solo artist, recording nine albums and was regarded as a historian of traditional Irish music.

Shows the band had scheduled for the end of the month in Ireland have been cancelled. (More on The Chieftains)

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