Beach Boys' Brian Wilson placed under conservatorship

Brian Wilson is seen with his wife Melinda, whom he called his 'savior' and 'anchor'; she passed away in late January at 77 (KEVIN WINTER)
Brian Wilson is seen with his wife Melinda, whom he called his 'savior' and 'anchor'; she passed away in late January at 77 (KEVIN WINTER)

Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson has been placed under a conservatorship by a Los Angeles judge, following his struggles with dementia and the recent loss of his wife.

Wilson, 81, regarded by many as a singular musical genius, has required help with his daily life since his diagnosis, which was publicly revealed last year.

Shortly after the death of his wife Melinda in January, Wilson's family asked the court for his business manager LeeAnn Hard, as well as his publicist and manager Jean Sievers, to be appointed to manage his personal and medical affairs.

Their legal guardianship was approved at Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday by Judge Gus May, who said Wilson suffers from a "major neurocognitive disorder" and is "unable to care" for himself, according to US media.

In a statement posted on his website earlier this year, Wilson's family said a conservatorship would ensure that "Brian and the children living at home will be taken care of and remain in the home where they are cared for."

Wilson has seven children, who must be consulted on all healthcare decisions. His finances are already held in a trust, Rolling Stone reported.

A towering figure in the world of music, Wilson was responsible almost single-handedly for the California sound pioneered by the Beach Boys in the 1960s.

His signature blend of easy-sounding pop, underlaid by complex harmonies and often deeply poetic lyrics, elevated the band far beyond its disposable surf-song image.

The five-piece lineup melded innovative vocalizing with the driving rhythms of rock and roll, and used unconventional recording techniques to create an instantly recognizable sound.

Wilson's ferocious talent was, at times, overshadowed by mental health challenges that have dogged him throughout his adult life.

In 1964, he suffered a breakdown while on tour, forcing him to focus on recording, but heralding a period of extreme creativity that produced "Pet Sounds" -- since hailed as one of the best and most influential albums in pop music history -- among others.

Wilson's experiments with drugs were coupled with bouts of depression and auditory hallucinations, as well as a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and bipolar disorder, according to a biographer.