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Guitar legend Jeff Beck dies at 78

January 11, 2023

Beck is often described as one of the greatest guitar players of all time. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice.

Jeff Beck performs at the Grammy Foundation's Starry Night gala in 2008
Beck's signature guitar was a Fender StratocasterImage: Fred Prouser/REUTERS

Guitar legend Jeff Beck has died at 78, his representatives said Wednesday in a statement.

Beck passed away Tuesday after "suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis."

"On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck's passing," the statement said. "His family asks for privacy while they process this tremendous loss."  

Beck's style was influenced by a variety of genres, including rock, blues and jazz fusion.

He played the Fender Stratocaster without a plectrum, with his style also incorporating the whammy bar and harmonics. 

From The Yardbirds to The Jeff Beck Group 

Beck's first foray into stardom began with English rock band The Yardbirds. The band experimented with new sounds during the psychedelic era of the 1960s, bringing Middle Eastern and Indian influences into the mix. 

In the mid-1960s, the Yardbirds not only included Beck in their lineup, but also Jimmy Page, who would go on to perform in the rock phenomenon Led Zeppelin

Beck later started a successful solo career, collaborating with other artists and forming the Jeff Beck Group. 

He is widely considered to be one of the greatest electric guitar players to ever grace the stage.

Beck was inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame twice, both for his work in The Yardbirds and his solo career.  

He won eight Grammy awards during his career, and US pop culture magazine Rolling Stone ranking him as the fifth greatest guitarist of all time.  

Guitar legend Jeff Beck dies aged 78

Music world mourns

Musicians mourned Beck's death and shared their memories of the legendary guitarist on social media.

"The six stringed Warrior is no longer here for us to admire the spell he could weave around our mortal emotions. Jeff I will miss you along with your millions of fans,'' Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, who was also a Yardbirds bandmate and close friend of Beck, wrote on Instagram.

"With the death of Jeff Beck we have lost a wonderful man and one of the greatest guitar players in the world. We will all miss him so much," The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger wrote on Twitter.

"Jeff was such a nice person and an outstanding iconic, genius guitar player, there will never be another Jeff Beck. His playing was very special & distinctively brilliant!" Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi wrote on Twitter.

dh, wd/fb (AFP, AP)