Singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Andrew Gold, a key player in Linda Ronstadt’s commercial success during the ’70s, died Friday (June 3) at this home in Encino, Calif., at age 59. Gold’s sister told the Los Angeles Times he died in his sleep. He had been diagnosed with cancer. Gold met Ronstadt in the ’60s when her band, the Stone Poneys, performed at a high school in North Hollywood. The group scored a major pop hit in 1967 with “Different Drum” but disbanded with founding member Kenny Edwards forming Bryndle, a new band with Gold and singer-songwriters Karla Bonoff and Wendy Waldman. Gold later became Ronstadt’s band leader and performed on her hit albums, including Heart Like a Wheel, Prisoner in Disguise and Hasten Down the Wind, and singles such as “You’re No Good,” “When Will I Be Loved” and “Heatwave.” While working in Ronstadt’s band, Gold embarked on a solo career and released hit singles such as “Lonely Boy” and “Thank You for Being a Friend,” the latter gaining additional recognition as the theme to the TV sitcom The Golden Girls. His songwriting credits include “I Saw the Light,” a No. 1 single for Wynonna in 1992, which he co-wrote with Lisa Angelle. As a session musician, he recorded with Art Garfunkel, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Loudon Wainwright III and J.D. Souther and produced projects for Stephen Bishop, Nicolette Larson and others. Gold was the son of Academy Award-winning composer Ernest Gold and vocalist Marni Nixon.