"With great sadness, we have to announce that Alvin unexpectedly passed away early this morning after unforeseen complications following a routine surgical procedure," read the message on alvinlee.com. "We have lost a wonderful, much loved father and companion. The world has lost a great and truly gifted musician."
The note was signed by Lee's daughter, Jasmin, wife, Evi, and former companion Suzanne. Lee died Wednesday.
Born in Nottingham, England, in 1944, Lee was the leader of the band Ten Years After. His performance at Woodstock in 1969 catapulted him into the front ranks of the period's British guitar heroes, which included Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Pete Townshend.
In an image from the 1973 book "Rock Dreams," he and those four others are pictured in tuxedos carrying guitar cases into a building. "Groups would play for an hour without pausing, not to be mobbed or screamed at but in hopes of an ovation," critic Nik Cohn wrote about musicians in the caption.
Despite his status as a musician, Lee never reached the critical or popular heights of his countrymen. Ten Years After never had a Top 10 album in America, though 1971's "A Space in Time" went platinum thanks to the group's only Top 40 hit, "I'd Love to Change the World." Lee released his latest album, "Still on the Road to Freedom," last August.