12:07 06 September 2010
Mike Edwards, a founding member of the veteran rock band Electric Light Orchestra, has been killed in a freak accident.
The ELO star was killed when a giant 50-stone cylindrical hay bale quickly rolled out of a field and landed on his van.
Edwards, who played cello with the Jeff Lynne-fronted band, died instantly when the bale flipped 15ft over a hedge and smashed directly onto the roof of his van.
The 62-year-old musician was known for his unique playing style, which incorporated using fruits to pluck the strings of his cello before quitting the popular band in 1975 to become a Buddhist, changing his name to Deva Pramada. He became a cello teacher to supplement his income.
Police confirmed that the accident happened at around 12.30pm on Friday September 3 on the A381 between Harbetonford and Halwell in Devon.
Inspector Andy Hamilton said: "We are liaising with the health and safety people and gathering evidence from the scene of the accident and the field.
"The van came into contact with a very large bale of hay. We are investigating how this came to happen."
Steve Walker of Devon and Cornwall police traffic unit spoke of the troubles in finding his next of kin: "We don't believe he was ever married. We have identified an ex-girlfriend but she is currently abroad.
"We think he may have a brother called David in the Yorkshire area and we obviously need to contact him.
"Michael had no immediate family but we believe he taught cello in Devon and would ask his students to contact us if they know of any relatives."
Edwards can be heard on classic early days ELO albums such as 'Electric Light Orchestra II', 'On the Third Day', 'The Night The Lights Went On (In Long Beach)' and 'Eldorado'.
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