Keyboardist Mark 'Moogy' Klingman, known for his work with Todd Rundgren and Bette Midler, and also a founding member of Rundgren's Utopia band, passed away on Tuesday evening (Nov. 15) at the age of 61. Klingman had been fighting an extended battle with cancer.

His music was a key element of Rundgren's early solo work, particularly the progressive sound that informed Utopia. Klingman also played a big part in rock history by making the very important introduction between Meat Loaf, composer Jim Steinman and Rundgren. That trio went on to produce what would become the multi-platinum 'Bat Out Of Hell' album in 1977.

Klingman and Rundgren were initially supposed to produce the album together, but Klingman eventually was edged out of the picture when the team became more interested in working with Rundgren directly. The events would cause a rift between Klingman and and Rundgren that would take many years to heal.

Rundgren reformed Utopia for a pair of shows earlier this year (which included Moogy) to help benefit Klingman's mounting medical bills. The reunion continued this fall with additional dates that Klingman was originally set to be a part of, but unfortunately he ultimately was unable to participate as his health got worse.

Todd mourned the “sorrowful” passing of his “longtime friend and Utopian” with a post on his Facebook page that said “he will be missed, RIP Moogy.”

Rundgren biographer Paul Myers paid tribute to Klingman with a lengthy post, calling him “a unique character, part foil, part Salieri, but a true original.”

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