Bruce Springsteen has opened up about the final moments of longtime E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons’ life in a new interview.

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Speaking with Howard Stern on The Howard Stern Show, Springsteen – on the show to promote his forthcoming covers album Only The Strong Survive – recalled visiting Clemons in the hospital following the saxophonist suffering from a stroke. Despite two brain surgeries, Clemons’ medical issues proved to be too severe and he passed away on June 11, 2011 at the age of 69.

On the day he died, Springsteen had brought his guitar with him into Clemons’ room. “I had a feeling he could hear me, because he could squeeze your hand,” Springsteen said to Stern. “I took the hunch and brought the guitar, and strummed ‘Land of Hope and Dreams’.”

Clemons – also known as “The Big Man” – was a founding member of the E Street Band upon its formation in 1972. He played on nearly every Springsteen album up to 2012’s Wrecking Ball – including Born To Run, on which he featured on the album cover alongside Springsteen himself. Following his passing, Clemons was survived in the E Street Band by his nephew Jake.

Only The Strong Survive, Springsteen’s 21st studio album and second covers album, is set for release next Friday, November 11. It has been preceded by the release of three singles: “Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)” (originally by Frank Wilson), “Nightshift” (originally by The Commodores) and “Don’t Play That Song” (originally by Ben E. King).

The Boss also recently appeared on stage with The Killers at their Madison Square Garden show, joining them for “A Dustland Fairytale” as well as renditions of his own hits “Badlands” and “Born to Run”.

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