( CNN) Leon Russell, who emerged as a rock ‘n’ roll star in the 1970 s after working behind the scenes as a conference pianist for other musicians, died Sunday in Nashville, his wife Janet Bridges told CNN. He was 74.

Russell died in his sleep, his wife said in a statement posted on his website . Honey Bridges, his daughter, told CNN he was recovering from a quadruple bypass when his health took a turn for the worse.

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