Montreux jazz festival founder Claude Nobs in coma after skiing accident

By Daniel S Levine,

Claude Nobs, the founder of the prestigious Montreux jazz festival in Switzerland, is in a coma after suffering a skiing accident during the Christmas holiday.

Festival organizers announced the 76-year-old’s condition on Monday. Nobs was practicing cross-country skiing at his home in Caux, which overlooks Montreux and Lake Geneva, festival secretary-general Mathieu Jaton told Reuters.

He underwent surgery at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois in Lausanne, Switzerland. According to festival organizers, he remains there unconscious. The results of further tests have not been revealed.

Nobs founded the festival in 1967 and earned the nickname “Funky Claude” thanks to the Deep Purple song “Smoke on the Water.” He is still the festival director, even after having heart surgery six years ago. He worked with Quincy Jones, who shared the directing duties in the 1990s. Jones still attends the festival with new talent every year.

Last year, Bob Dylan, Lana Del Rey and Hugh Laurie headlined the festival.

Festival organizers said that they will not release any more information on his health. “The entire team of the Montreux Jazz Festival wishes a full recovery to its boss,” they said in the statement.

Jaton will handle this year’s festival, which is scheduled for July 5-20.

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