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Nine Inch Nails keyboard player James Woolley dies aged 50

Published 18/08/2016

The funeral of James Woolley will be held in the US state of Illinois
The funeral of James Woolley will be held in the US state of Illinois

Tributes have been paid to former Nine Inch Nails musician James Woolley who has died aged 50.

The keyboard player performed with the US rock group, fronted by Trent Reznor, during the early 1990s when the band released their influential album, The Downward Spiral.

Woolley's ex-wife Kate Van Buren announced his death in a post on Facebook and paid tribute to the father-of-three.

"James worked hard and played hard with NIN," she wrote.

"He brought coolness to playing keyboards, which isn't as easy to do as playing guitar or drums. Those years were truly magical and quite an adventure."

Ms Van Buren did not reveal a cause of death but said Woolley had been living with "significant neck and spine injuries".

"Though our marriage ended, James always stayed close to his children," she added.

"He loved being a father. Because of significant neck and spine injuries, he wasn't capable of doing a lot of physical activities with them, but he loved sitting down to paint, or teach piano, or just look at nature. He passed his amazing musical and artistic talents to all three children."

Richard Patrick, former guitarist with Nine Inch Nails, posted a photograph of himself with Woolley on Instagram, writing in the caption: "I miss my buddy. #nin #gonetoosoon."

Neil Portnow, president of The Recording Academy, also paid tribute to Woolley, who won a Grammy for best metal performance with Nine Inch Nails for their 1994 Woodstock performance of Happiness In Slavery.

"We are saddened to learn of the death of former Nine Inch Nails keyboardist James Woolley," he said.

"James was an active creative collaborator, having worked with other bands such as Die Warzau, Sister Machine Gun, 2wo, and V.O.I.D.

"We offer our deepest condolences to James' family, friends, and all those who had the privilege and honour of working with him."

Woolley, who left Nine Inch Nails in 1994 after three years with the band, later worked on sound effects for The Simpsons, Ms Van Buren said.

A funeral service will be held in Glenview, Illinois on Saturday.

Reznor described Woolley's death as "terrible news".

He said: "I hadn't crossed paths with him for some time, but always thought of him fondly. He was a fun character to be around, a solid musician and a genuinely good guy.

"Those of us from that era of the band have been sharing 'James' stories. Lots of laughs and love and sadness.

"Wishing his family the very best."

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