Queen guitarist Brian May has led tributes to fellow rock star Rick Parfitt, who has died at the age of 68.
The veteran musician died after suffering from a severe infection while in a Spanish hospital, which he had visited due to complications with a pre-existing shoulder injury, his manager said.
His death at lunchtime on Saturday (local time) followed years of concern about his ill health, which had seen him stricken by multiple heart attacks and a cancer scare.
Most recently, Parfitt had been forced to withdraw from his band’s tour after he collapsed and briefly “died” over the summer, according to manager Simon Porter.
His family and manager said in a statement: “We are truly devastated to have to announce that Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt has passed away at lunchtime today.”
It added: “This tragic news comes at a time when Rick was hugely looking forward to launching a solo career with an album and autobiography planned for 2017 following his departure from Status Quo’s touring activities on medical advice.
“He will be sorely missed by his family, friends, fellow band members, management, crew and his dedicated legion of fans from throughout the world, gained through 50 years of monumental success with Status Quo.”
Tributes flow for ‘one of the nicest guys in rock ‘n’ roll’
His contemporary, Queen guitarist Brian May, said Parfitt “joyfully rocked our world”.
Parfitt’s son, Rick Jr, also paid his own emotional tribute online, writing that, although he was a rock star to many, to him “he was simply ‘Dad’, and I loved him hugely”.
Similar outpourings of sadness came from across the musical community, where he was praised as “a lovely man” and “one of the nicest guys in rock ‘n’ roll”.
May said: “Shocked and so sad to hear of the passing of Rick Parfitt. Hard to find words. You truly joyfully rocked our world. RIP dear buddy.”
I cannot describe the sadness I feel right now. To many he was a rockstar, to me he was simply 'Dad', and I loved him hugely. RIP Pappa Parf
— Rick Parfitt Jnr (@RickParfittJnr) December 24, 2016
One of the most celebrated live performances of Parfitt’s career came at Live Aid on July 13 1985, when he opened the historic 16-hour concert with Status Quo in a 15-minute slot at the original Wembley Stadium which was broadcast around the world.
The event’s co-organiser and fellow musician Midge Ure said: “Status Quo’s Rick Parfitt dies. Dreadfully sad. Lovely man. Thoughts go out to his family and friends.”
The band carved out a place in musical history with their thumping rock sound, which shot them to stardom in the 1970s.
Rock star Peter Frampton, who also found success during that era, tweeted: “So sad to hear this. Rick Parfitt Rest In Peace”.
Rick Parfitt lived the rock lifestyle
Parfitt was the embodiment of an artist living the rock and roll lifestyle while being a genuine entertainer across five decades.
His talent as both a musician and songwriter earned him fans across the world, but most notably of course in his home nation, where he was awarded an OBE for services to music along with his Status Quo cohort Francis Rossi.
The band is known for its boogie rock sound, with Parfitt a master on the guitar.
He was also accredited with co-writing a number of Status Quo tracks including ‘Whatever You Want’, ‘Again And Again’ and ‘Break The Rules’.
Parfitt joined the band in 1967 after it was formed by Rossi with Alan Lancaster and, after a handful of name changes, they settled on the moniker that would see them rise through the rock music ranks from their first hit in 1968, ‘Pictures Of Matchstick Men’, to now.
But over the years, the veteran musician – a self-confessed former drug addict who at one time drank a bottle of wine and smoked 30 cigarettes a day – suffered a litany of health complaints.
Another admission of his in recent years is that he, in the peak of his drug-taking years, would spend thousands of dollars a week on cocaine and vodka.
“I enjoyed every moment but I’m pleased I’ve come out of the other side,” he told The Telegraph in 2014.
Parfitt’s personal life was tumultuous. He married his first wife Marietta Boeker in 1973 and they had two children, but their marriage broke down after their two-year-old daughter Heidi drowned in a pool.
He later married his childhood sweetheart Patty Beedon with whom he had a son but that union ended when he had an affair with his first wife.
Parfitt married Lyndsey Whitburn in 2006 and they welcomed their twins in 2008, making him a new father at the age of 60.