His manager, Steve Takaki, confirmed to Rolling Stone that Budd died due to COVID-19.
Born Harold Montgomory Budd in Los Angeles back in 1936, Budd was raised Victorville, CA, in the Mojave Desert. After serving in the army, Budd began his prolific career as a composer in 1962.
Before long, he drew attention within the local avant-garde community in California, though Budd didn't record much music until 1971, with that material going to on appear on the The Oak of the Golden Dreams record.
By 1976, Budd began to work with fellow ambient pioneer Brian Eno, with the pair joining forces to craft what would become Budd's proper debut album The Pavilion of Dreams. This led to his Eno collaboration Ambient 2 (The Plateaux of Mirror), which was released in 1980. The record was then followed by 1984's beloved album, The Pearl, which found Budd and Eno joining forces with frequent collaborator Daniel Lanois.
Throughout albums like these, Budd went on to develop a slow and sustained style of piano playing he called "soft pedal," though he frequently voiced his disdain with being categorized as "ambient" — a label Budd found limiting.
Budd went on to work with other notable collaborators throughout his career, such as with Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde on their joint effort The Moon and the Melodies, which was released via 4AD in 1986.
This led to Budd striking up a longstanding working relationship with Guthrie, with the pair going on to release multiple collaborative albums over the years. In fact, earlier this year the pair released the album Another Flower.
Also earlier in 2020, Budd released the score to the HBO series I Know This Much Is True.
Over the years, Budd also worked with the likes of David Sylvian, Roger Eno, Steven Jansen and John Foxx, among others.
A lot to digest. Shared a lot with Harold since we were young, since he was sick, shared a lot with harold for the last...Posted by Robin Guthrie on Tuesday, 8 December 2020
HAROLD BUDD FOREVER— Light In The Attic (@lightintheattic) December 8, 2020
RIP TO A LEGEND
Photo by Barry J Holmes pic.twitter.com/radMQ9tcfv
RIP Harold Budd pic.twitter.com/s19rn7DrTm— Brian Eno News (@dark_shark) December 8, 2020
rest in peace Harold Budd. an artist who embodied serenity & beauty in music, a peerless explorer of atmosphere & what we know as "ambiance." thank you for the infinite hours of reflection, & so many more to come 🙏💜— Good Willsmith (@GoodWillsmith) December 8, 2020
listening to Harold Budd La Bella Vista right now. love this record especially knowing it was recorded "in secret" by Daniel Lanois. so intimate, gentle and candid. we lost a true musical luminary today…— loscil (@_loscil_) December 8, 2020
Rest Easy Harold Budd & thank you https://t.co/5y8roaTWgn— anton newcombe (@antonnewcombe) December 8, 2020
Rest In Peace to the great composer and poet Harold Budd (1936-2020) 💔 pic.twitter.com/E62MKkMTIN— ISSUE Project Room (@issueproject) December 8, 2020
forever a stream with bright fish. RIP #HaroldBudd— taylor deupree (@taylordeupree) December 8, 2020
Harold Budd, Hiroshi Yoshimura and Satoshi Ashikawa - Roppomgi, 1983 at Harold's Japanese premier organized by Sound Process Design - RIP pic.twitter.com/9qFaj49o16— Visible Cloaks (Spencer D) (@visiblecloaks) December 8, 2020
We just learned the tragic news that legendary composer Harold Budd has passed from this world. He was 84. He left us an...Posted by Ambient Church on Tuesday, 8 December 2020