Ron Aspery, one of the country's top saxophone players, has been found dead.

The talented 58- year-old musician is believed to have died in his sleep at his home in Wivelsfield Road, Saltdean, where he had a recording studio.

He was found on Wednesday morning by his cleaner.

He had been ill for some time and was limiting his work.

Mr Aspery was a member of the cult band Back Door, which had a huge following in the US and northern Britain.

He toured with some of the world's leading bands including Genesis, Sly And The Family Stone and Sky.

The musician played some of the world's top venues, including the Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York, and the Sydney Opera House.

He was often seen playing with bands on TV chat shows compered by hosts such Michael Parkinson and Michael Aspel.

His CDs, such as Romantic Saxophone Melodies and Aspery's Saxophiles, sold well, proving popular as club background music.

Mr Aspery, who was born in Middlesbrough, was well-known in the Saltdean and Rottingdean area, where he would greet friends with the words "Ay-up".

He started played saxophone at the age of 12 in 1957.

He joined Eric Delaney's band at 16 and in his early 20s was in demand as a session musician.

Mr Aspery was a close friend of musician and songwriter Herbie Flowers, who lives in Ditchling.

The duo gave entertaining concerts in Rottingdean to raise money for good causes.

Herbie said: "No one could play the alto and tenor sax quite like Ron. He would play as though he was a little puppy dog, afraid someone was about to tread on his tail."

The coroner has been informed. A funeral date has not been set.