Guitarist Yitzhak Klepter, whose membership in 70s-era rock band Kaveret made him one of Israel’s best-loved musicians, died Thursday at age 72.
Klepter had suffered from chronic health problems in recent years as a result of obstructive pulmonary disease.
Born in Haifa in 1950, Klepter’s musical career spanned some five decades, starting with high school band The Churchills, considered one of the country’s first rock groups, all the way to May of this year, when he recorded a song in collaboration with singer Tal Sondak.
The guitar player was best known for his membership in Kaveret, often referred to as Israel’s Beatles. He joined the group after years as an uncredited session guitarist backing bands during studio recordings.
He later formed the pop-rock band Tuned Tone, and was involved in a number of collaborations with other leading artists, along with a lengthy solo career that spanned five albums and a number of hits.
In 2008 the Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers in Israel honored Klepter with a lifetime achievement award.
President Isaac Herzog eulogized Klepter in a tweet, writing he was “the landscape of our youth for many of us.”
“King of the guitar, a gifted composer and writer. His voice and melodies will accompany us forever,” Herzog wrote.
Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper said in a statement he was “greatly saddened” by Klepter’s death and described him as “a central part of the Israeli soundtrack.”
“The sounds he created were notes tuned straight into the hearts of multitudes of Israelis, tunes that will remain even after his passing,” Tropper said, in a play on words that recalled one of the artist’s most loved hits, “A Tuned Tone.”
In 2000 Klepter was diagnosed with a brain tumor that was removed and he recovered, but he was dogged by health problems for years after, being admitted to hospital on a number of occasions.
Miki Gavrielov, who was in The Churchills with Klepter and remained in touch, told Channel 13 that the guitarist’s deterioration and death was “a great shame.”
Losing the ability to play guitar, Klepter’s iconic instrument, “was hard for him,” he said.