(Editor's Note: Doobie Brother Keith Knudsen, who died Feb. 8, was a native of Le Mars and lived here until he was in the third or fourth grade when the family moved to Hawarden. His father, Charles Knudsen, is a resident of Kingsley. Keith Knudsen was initiated into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003).
Keith Knudsen, a drummer for the Doobie Brothers since 1974, died of pneumonia Tuesday (Feb. 8, 2005). He was 56.
Knudsen, who lived in Sonoma County's wine country, had been hospitalized for more than a month.
He died at Kentfield Rehabilitation Hospital at about 12:30 p.m., according to the band's longtime manager Bruce Cohn.
"I just saw him Sunday, just before the Super Bowl," Cohn said. "He was in good spirits. He was weak, but he was OK."
Knudsen, who said he began drumming in eighth grade, joined the classic rock band in 1974 after he met Cohn, who told him the Doobies needed a drummer.
"After a week's rehearsal, I went on the road with the band," Knudsen said in his biography on the band's Web site.
The Doobies, who had a lengthy string of hits including "Black Water," "Minute By Minute," "What a Fool Believes" and "Taking it to the Streets," were known for incorporating gospel and jazz stylings into popular hit songs.
They also were well-regarded for their live performances.
Knudsen played with the Doobies until the band's 1982 farewell tour.
During the band's hiatus, Knudsen and bandmate John McFee formed the country rock group Southern Pacific, which released four albums and had several hits.
He rejoined the band full-time in 1993.
"He's going to be missed," said Tom Johnston, the band's founder. "We're going to miss him on drums. I'm going to miss him as a buddy."
Johnston said Knudsen had cancer in 1995.
"It left him weak and I don't think he ever fully regained all his strength," Johnston said.
He said the band was currently performing about 100 concerts a year and is scheduled to release a new album this summer.
Knudsen is survived by his wife of 16 years, Kate, and their daughter, Dayna Keyes.
Funeral and memorial arrangements are pending. Donations can be made to Knudsen's longtime favorite charity, the National Veterans Foundation.