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East Germany's best-known drummer Klaus Scharfschwerdt dies at age of 68

Published June 14,2022
The drummer of the hugely successful former East German rock band Puhdys, Klaus Scharfschwerdt, has died at the age of 68.

His manager confirmed on Tuesday that Scharfschwerdt had died after a long battle with lung cancer in a Berlin hospital on Friday.

Scharfschwerdt joined the Puhdys in 1979, a decade after the band itself was formed.

Puhdys were voted the best East German rock band on 12 separate occasions, and Scharfschwerdt several times chosen as best drummer.

Rock music played a crucial part in the cultural life of especially younger East Germans, many of whom were avid fans of British and US bands and singers.

While such music was frowned on by the communist authorities, teenagers could tune in to the rebel music on the radio, or listen to home-grown talent - of which the Puhdys were the most successful.

The five-piece band continued to fill large concert venues after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

After Puhdys split in 2016, the drummer founded a new band, which he called Scharfschwerdts Neuland ("Scharfschwerdts New Land"). "Feeding fish and going on holiday," was too boring, he said at the time.

"We have no words," his family wrote on Facebook. They were convinced that he would beat the disease, they wrote, but it "did not turn out like this."

The official website for Scharfschwerdts Neuland also carried the statement from his family describing their "deep pain" and announcing that his funeral would be only for close family members.