Jay Bennett, a former member of the band Wilco, died May 24 in Urbana, Ill. He was 45.

“We are profoundly saddened to report that our friend died in his sleep … Jay was a beautiful human being who will be missed,” said a posting on Undertow Music Collective’s Web site.

Bennett worked as a sound engineer and played instruments for Wilco from 1994 to 2001.

Wilco lead singer Jeff Tweedy said in a statement Monday he was “deeply saddened” by Bennett’s death.

Tweedy said Bennett made significant contributions to Wilco’s songs and the band’s evolution. He said Bennett would be remembered “as a truly unique and gifted human being.”

Earlier this month, he sued the band’s lead singer Jeff Tweedy, claiming he was owed royalties for songs during his seven years and five albums with the group.

In the breach-of-contract lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court, Bennett also claimed that he deserved money from the band’s 2002 documentary, “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.” The film documents the making of Wilco’s album “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.”

— Associated Press