‘The guitarist’s guitarist’ and British rock legend Jeff Beck dies aged 78

© Kevin Winter, Getty Images via AFP

Jeff Beck, the influential guitarist who rose to rock and roll stardom with 1960s supergroup the Yardbirds and pushed the boundaries of blues, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll, influencing generations of shredders along the way and becoming known as the guitar player’s guitar player, has died. He was 78.

"On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck's passing. After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday," a statement on the English-born musician's website said.

"His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss."

Beck's death quickly reverberated around the music world, with tributes pouring in from rock icons like Ozzy Osbourne, with whom Beck once collaborated, and Kiss lead singer Gene Simmons, who called Beck's passing "heartbreaking."

"No one played guitar like Jeff," Simmons posted on Twitter. "Please get ahold of the first two Jeff Beck Group albums and behold greatness. RIP."

Mick Jagger hailed Beck -- an eight-time Grammy winner who was twice inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- as "one of the greatest guitar players in the world."

"He was quiet as moccasined feet, yet mercurial, innovative, impossible to categorize," wrote punk-poet laureate Patti Smith. "One of the masters of my generation."

"A guitarist in the highest sense."

'Limitless' imagination’

"The guitarists' guitarist," tweeted musician Paul Young of Beck, who said the virtuoso was "loved by everyone in the know."


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