Nik Turner, multi-instrumentalist and co-founder of the psychedelic space-rock band, Hawkwind, has died at the age of 82.
A statement on the musician’s Facebook page on Friday (11 November) confirmed his death: “We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Nik Turner – the Mighty Thunder Rider, who passed away peacefully at home on Thursday evening.”
“He has moved on to the next phase of his cosmic journey, guided by the love of his family, friends and fans.”
Born Nicholas Robert Turner in 1940 in Oxford, Turner studied saxophone in his early twenties and started out as a roadie for Hawkwind before he eventually joined the band, alongside Dave Brock, John Harrison, Terry Ollis and Mick Slattery.
Turner played with the band for seven years and co-wrote some of their most popular songs such as Brainstorm and Master of the Universe. He left the group in 1976, before rejoining in 1982 and playing with them for another two years.
In an interview back in 2010, Turner told writer Lynne Allbutt he was “blessed” to have so much time to play music and spend time in nature, saying, “I love walking and love beaches. I have always been very drawn to be in touch with the elements and their healing aspects. I meditate, don’t eat red meat and don’t drink alcohol. Nature is the future of the world. I have always been spiritual.”
“Music is a spiritual thing, it touches people. When Hawkwind played Stonehenge at a Summer Solstice we created a ritual around the death of the old sun and the birth of the new on with the music.”
As one of the pioneers in the space-rock genre, Hawkwind was also Lemmy Kilmister’s band for four years before he founded Motörhead. On Friday, Motörhead’s official Twitter account tweeted, “We lost Lemmy’s old bandmate Nik Turner today. Play some Hawkwind nice and loud! Brainstorm here we go!”
— Official Motörhead (@myMotorhead) November 11, 2022
Tributes have also poured in from around the world in the wake of Turner’s passing. Read them below.
R.I.P. Nik Turner pic.twitter.com/wZhAXkkgj5
— Flashback Records (@flashbacklondon) November 11, 2022
So long #NikTurner thanks for the music, for making my little festival magic and giving me a turn on the mic. Wish you’d fixed things with the Capt before you left. ICU! ICU!
— Matthew Wright (@Matthew_Wright) November 11, 2022
Rest In Peace Nik Turner https://t.co/3ziwfc7Vsu
— anton newcombe (@antonnewcombe) November 11, 2022
— Stephen Foster (@StephenFoz) November 11, 2022
RIP Nik Turner, who kept the freak flag flying during the early 70s, both in his appearance & with masterful contributions to Hawkwind. Blowing wild sax thu a wah-wah, He was the Pied Piper for the band’s master-blaster wall of cosmic sound. pic.twitter.com/YrOKRaAaC5
— Mark Paytress (@Paytress) November 11, 2022
Still reeling from the sad loss of my friend Nik Turner. I’ve known Nik for nearly 50 years. He was one of a kind. An inspiring and warm hearted human being, always game for musical adventures. With his departure this world is a lesser place, as his Spirit rides free. ♥️
— Steve Hillage (@stevehillage) November 12, 2022
Sad to be posting that Hawkwind founder member, Nik Turner, has passed away. More than anyone, Nik has represented the spirit of Hawkwind, despite only spending about ten years in the band. He'll be missed by many….certainly by me. I'm so glad I knew him. pic.twitter.com/KIWlEpuzti
— Brian Tawn (@briantawn) November 11, 2022