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LONDON (USA TODAY) -- Clive Burr, former drummer with heavy metal icons Iron Maiden, has died. He was 56 and had multiple sclerosis.

The band says on its official website that Burr died peacefully in his sleep at his London home on Tuesday.

Band founder and bass player Steve Harris said Burr "was a wonderful person and an amazing drummer who made a valuable contribution to Maiden in the early days when we were starting out."

Born in London in 1957, Burr joined Iron Maiden in 1979 and played on the band's first three albums - Iron Maiden, Killers and The Number of the Beast. He contributed to the band's distinctive hard-driving sound on classic songs but left in 1982, before Iron Maiden became 1980s mega-stars.