Neil Innes, the comedian singer/songwriter renowned for his work with Monty Python and the beloved 1978 Beatles parody band and TV special, the Rutles, died unexpectedly on December 29th. Innes, who had strong ties to the "Fab Four" -- particularly with George Harrison, with whom he collaborated on several projects -- was first connected to Paul McCartney, who as one "Apollo C. Vermouth" produced "I'm The Urban Spaceman" the classic 1968 single by Innes' first comedic group, the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.

The Bonzo's had also appeared performing an Innes original, "Death Cab For Cutie" in the Beatles' 1967 TV movie Magical Mystery Tour. Innes, who was dubbed by many as the "seventh Python," appeared in the troupe's classic movies Life Of Brian and Monty Python And The Holy Grail.

In addition to his work with Python, Innes was part of the music comedy combo GRIMMS, which included McCartney's younger brother Mike "McGear" McCartney. Innes performed with members of Monty Python at London's Royal Albert Hall for the historic George Harrison tribute show, Concert For George.

Innes' Rutles songs raised a red flag with John Lennon & Paul McCartney's song publishers who believed he came too close to copyright infringement than innocent song parody, resulting in a cash settlement. Conversely, Innes later received a co-writing credit for Oasis' 1994 song "Whatever," which snagged some of its melody from Innes' 1973 favorite, "How To Be An Idiot."

A message on Innes' official website, (neilinnes.media) announced his passing:

It is with deep sorrow and great sadness that we have to announce the death of Neil James Innes on 29th December 2019.

We have lost a beautiful kind, gentle soul whose music and songs touched the heart of everyone and whose intellect and search for truth inspired us all.

He died of natural causes quickly without warning and, I think, without pain.

His wife Yvonne and their three sons Miles, Luke and Barney and three grandchildren Max Issy and Zac give thanks for his life, for his music and for the joy he gave us all.

Neil Innes, who created all the music for the Rutles admitted that the project was just as fun to create as it was fans to watch: "Right from the get go, The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash - The Story Of The Pre-Fab Four was a complete joy, I think for everyone who worked on it. It was so close, in fact, to the demise of the Beatles, and, I think, someone in America was offering the lads $20 million dollars each to get together for 20 minutes. And they were running gags with it on Saturday Night Live. Clearly it was getting silly, and something sillier had to be done. And so, that's how the film came about."

AUDIO: NEIL INNES ON THE RUTLES