Janis Joplin's former pianist RICHARD BELL has lost his battle with cancer. He was 61. The Canadian songwriter/pianist died of multiple myeloma on Friday (15Jun07) at Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Bell began his music career in the 1960s, playing keyboard for Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, before joining Joplin's Full Tilt Boogie Band in 1970 and playing on her posthumous album Pearl, which was released the following year after her sudden death (04Oct70). During his length career, Bell played with Bob Dylan, Joe Walsh, Colin Linden, Bruce Cockburn, John Sebastian, Bonnie Raitt, the Cowboy Junkies and Paul Butterfield. Bell's friend and colleague Colin Linden says, "I've never known a finer musician and a finer man. He had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and for life. At age 61, he played as well or better than he ever played." Bell is survived by his mother and sister.