Jeff Beck, the celebrated guitarist who played with the Yardbirds and led the Jeff Beck Group, has died at the age of 78, as confirmed by his representative.
Beck died Tuesday after “suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis,” the representative confirmed. “His family asks for privacy while they process this tremendous loss,” he added.
Often described as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Beck, whose fingers and thumbs were insured for £7 million, was known as a great innovator. He pioneered jazz-rock, experimenting with fuzz and distortion effects and paving the way for heavier subgenres like psych rock and heavy metal throughout his career. He won eight Grammy Awards, received the Ivor Novello for his outstanding contribution to British music, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame both as a solo artist and as a member of the Yardbirds.
Musicians and old friends began paying tribute minutes after the news broke. On twitter, Jimmy Page wrote, “The Six String Warrior is no longer here for us to admire the spell he could weave around our deadly emotions. Jeff could channel music from the ethereal. His unique technique. His seemingly limitless imagination of his. Jeff, I will miss you along with your millions of fans.”
“With the death of Jeff Beck, we have lost a wonderful man and one of the best guitarists in the world.” Mick Jagger wrote. “We will all miss him dearly.”
Rod Stewart, who toured with the Jeff Beck Group in the late ’60s, called him “one of the few guitarists who when I played live would hear me sing and respond… you were the best, my friend. Thanks for everything.”
Gene Simmons call it “Heartbreaking news… no one played guitar like Jeff. Get your hands on the first two Jeff Beck Group albums and behold greatness. RIP.”
“Now that Jeff is gone, I feel like one of my brother group has left this world and I’m going to miss him dearly.” Ronnie Wood tweeted.
Ozzy Osbourne tweeted, “I cannot express how saddened I am to learn of the passing of Jeff Beck. What a terrible loss to his family, friends and his many fans. It was such an honor to have met Jeff and an incredible honor to have had him play on my most recent album.”
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