Writer, musician, actor and comedian Neil Innes suddenly passed away on Sunday. According to a statement from his agent, Nigel Morton, Innes was 75 years old and had no previous illness.
“Neil Innes passed away unexpectedly,” he said to CNN.
A post from Neil Innes’ website states, “It is with deep sorrow and great sadness that we have to announce the death of Neil James Innes on 29th December 2019. 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.”
Innes was part of multiple musical parody groups, one called “The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band,” and another called “The Rutles,” a direct parody of The Beatles. He also had his own television show called “The Innes Book of Records.”
In the mid-seventies, Innes became a close friend to the “Monty Python” team. He collaborated with them to write music, television, and films.
Innes wrote original songs for the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), including “Knights of the Round Table” and “Brave Sir Robin.”
Innes plays multiple roles in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, including a head-bashing monk and a serf that is crushed by a gigantic wooden rabbit. He also plays the leader of Sir Robin’s minstrels.
Innes also appeared in Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky (1977) and Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979).
The statement on Innes’ website continues, “He died of natural causes quickly without warning and, I think, without pain. His wife Yvonne and their three sons Miles, Luke and Barney and three grandchildren Max Issy and Zac give thanks for his life, for his music and for the joy he gave us all.”
Friends and loved ones have been sending love and support from the internet.
Utterly dismayed to hear about Neil Innes. Right out of the blue…
A very sweet man, much too nice for his own good
Lovely writer and performer. When he worked with Python on our stage show, I listened every night to "How sweet to be an Idiot" on the tannoy
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) December 30, 2019
Deeply saddened by the death of Neil Innes. I fell for Neil’s humour and humanity with the Rutland Weekend Television album in 1976. Big fan ever since and saw/met him many but not enough times. Loved his brilliant witty music, loved him. Mankind will miss his wry sagely wisdom.
— Mark Lewisohn (@marklewisohn) December 30, 2019
The Bonzos were reunited one last time only a few weeks ago for a victory dinner. Our thoughts and prayers are with Yvonne and the family at this sad time. RIP to the Urban Spaceman himself, the great Neil Innes xxxx pic.twitter.com/zWKmCh4qSW
— The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band (@BonzoDogBanned) December 30, 2019
Neil Innes was given the task of parodying the Beatles, and accidentally created a body of music that was every bit as good. If you haven’t yet treated yourself to the Rutles, today, the day we lost Neil Innes, is a great day to start. https://t.co/n0xYF8i1a5
— Jay Foreman (@jayforeman) December 30, 2019
Fairwell Neil Innes. One of the nicest people I’ve ever met and a towering talent. pic.twitter.com/JJ2vZUtkKO
— Diane Morgan (@missdianemorgan) December 30, 2019
It is clear that while he had an understated public presence, his kindness and wit remained with all those he worked with and befriended. His talent and legacy will not soon be forgotten by comedy and music fans alike.