Jim Sherwood, a sax player (and more) with Frank Zappa's legendary band The Mothers Of Invention, passed away on Christmas Day (Dec. 25). He was 69 years old. A cause of death has yet to be determined.

Sherwood was a classically-trained multi-instrumentalist who was part of Zappa's free-wheeling ensemble from the start, playing baritone and tenor saxophone, percussion and adding vocals to such landmark albums as their 1966 debut, 'Freak Out!,' and their 1970 final album, 'Weasels Ripped My Flesh.'

After The Mothers split up, he continued to play off and on with Zappa, as well as appearing in his cult classic film '200 Motels,' playing a newt rancher infatuated with a vacuum cleaner.

A childhood friend of Zappa's, Sherwood earned the nickname 'Motorhead' early on. But unlike Lemmy Kilmister's definition of "speedfreak," Sherwood's moniker came from his love of working on automobiles. His final musical project was The Grandmothers, which featured a variety of musicians who had performed with Zappa over the course of his career.