Cozy Powell, famous for his work with bands such as Black Sabbath and Rainbow, died after his Saab 9000 car smashed into crash barriers on the M4 motorway near Bristol on Sunday night. Police refused to reveal the identity of the victim but last night Powell's agent Roland Hymes, confirmed the drummer had ben killed.
"He had been through it all and had come out the other side. Basically he was a nice guy making his living out of music and having a good time," he said.
Powell - real name Colin - had recently made a guest appearance on Chris Evans's television show TGI Friday and was understood to be working on a new project with guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen.
But it will be for his work in the 1970s that Powell, 50, from Hungerford, Berkshire, will be best remembered. The roll-call of bands he worked with reads like a Who's Who of the rock era. In addition to Black Sabbath and Rainbow, Powell played with Whitesnake, the Michael Schenker Group, Gary Moore and Brian May.
He also had successful partnerships with Roger Daltrey, lead singer of The Who, and Jeff Beck. Most recently he had been playing on the comeback tour of Fleetwood Mac's Peter Green.
Tributes to Powell were led last night by the record producer Mickey Most. "Musically speaking he was one of the best drummers we've ever had in this country," he said. "He was a great guy, a fantastic musician and he always had a perfect disposition. He lived fast and he must have had some wonderful times in his life."