SAN FRANCISCO, JULY 26 -- Brent Mydland, 38, the keyboard player for the rock band Grateful Dead, was found dead today in his home in Lafayette, a suburb 25 miles east of San Francisco.

It was unclear when and how he died, said Sgt. Richard Terry of the Contra Costa County Coroner's office. An autopsy was scheduled for Friday.

"We lost a brother and we are very devastated," said Grateful Dead spokesman Dennis McNally.

Friends apparently went to Mr. Mydland's home after being unable to contact him, Terry said. He had returned Tuesday from New York City, where the band completed a three-week national tour, Terry said.

Mr. Mydland wrote the well-known Grateful Dead tune "Far From Me," and more recently co-wrote the environmental ballad "We Can Run (But We Can't Hide)," which was used in an Audubon Society video.

Mr. Mydland was born in Germany to American parents stationed there with the military and grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. As a teenager, he played with small local rock-and-roll bands. He eventually made his name as the keyboard player with the 1970s rock band Silver.

Mr. Mydland joined the Grateful Dead in April 1979 after a stint with lead guitarist and vocalist Bob Weir's side band, Bobby and the Midnights. He replaced keyboardist Keith Godschaux.

The 1960s counterculture band, known for such hits as "Casey Jones" and "Truckin'," retains a cult following today. Fans -- known as "Deadheads" and including people who weren't born when the band first came to prominence -- follow the group from performance to performace.

Most recently, Mr. Mydland was known among Grateful Dead fans for his "I Will Take You Home," a lullaby written for his two daughters.

He is survived by his wife, Lisa, and his daughters.