Robert Steinhardt, Kansas frontman and violinist, dies at 71

·2 min read

Robert Steinhardt, the violinist and founding member of the rock group Kansas, died on Saturday after being hospitalized earlier in the year for acute pancreatitis. He was 71.

Michael Putland/Getty Images Robert Steinhardt performing with Kansas in New York, December 1977.

Steinhardt's widow, Cindy, shared the news on Facebook in a written statement.

"Our final journey started May 13 when Robby was admitted into the hospital with acute pancreatitis. Later that night he went into acute septic shock and was placed on life support. Outlook was very grave as he wasn't expected to live through the night," she wrote. "Like the true fighter he is, he managed to spring back much to the amazement of his entire medical staff. Once again he cheated death and the road to recovery had begun."

She continued, "65 days later, on the day he was to be released from medical care and move to the rehabilitation center to build his strength, his body had other plans. A fever set in, blood pressure became uncontrollable, the sepsis reared it's [sic] ugly head again."

Born May 25, 1950, Steinhardt grew up in Lawrence, Kan., as the adopted son of Ilse and Milton Steinhardt. He was originally a member of White Clover, the group that would become the original lineup of Kansas, which also included Steve Walsh, Rich Williams, and Kerry Livgren.

Kansas released their self-titled first album in 1974 with Steinhardt featuring on songs like "Can I Tell You," the record's "Bringing It Back" cover, and "Aperçu." Steinhardt left the band in 1983 to form Steinhardt-Moon but later returned in 1997. He retired from the group in 2006 but had been working on his first solo album with producer Michael Franklin at the time of his death. Cindy further noted he had planned to go on tour in August.

"I've always tried to share our lives with you but I ask you to please respect this heavy time of grief," Cindy wrote. "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."

Steinhardt is survived by Cindy and daughter Becky.

Related content: