Longtime Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt died this past Saturday night—Christmas Eve—at a hospital in Marbella, Spain. He was 68.
The guitarist—who was an integral part of Status Quo from 1967 through this past October, when he announced his retirement from the band—suffered from a severe infection after experiencing complications from a pre-existing shoulder injury, the result of a fall.
Francis Rossi, Parfitt's longtime friend and Status Quo bandmate, has since issued a touching statement about Parfitt. You can read it below.
"Rick Parfitt had been a part of my story for 50 years. Without doubt the longest relationship of my life, this was also the most satisfying, frustrating, creative and fluid.
"From those early days, we worked together to create the Quo sound, look and hits. We spent years on the road, on the stage and in the studio, rarely far from each other, honing what we did. We were a team, a double act, a partnership and yet also two very different people, handling the pressures of growing older, constant touring, dealing with success and keeping the creative flame burning in different ways.
"He developed his own sound, his own style, casually inspiring a generation of players.
"Rick was the archetypal rock star, one of the originals. He never lost his joy, his mischievous edge and his penchant for living life at high speed, high volume, high risk. His life was never boring, he was louder and faster and more carefree than the rest of us.
"There were any number of incidents along the way, times when he strayed into areas of true danger and yet still losing him now is still a shock.
"Even in a year that has claimed so many of our best, including now George Michael, Rick Parfitt stands out. I was not ready for this."
Parfitt had experienced several health problems over the years, including a quadruple heart bypass in 1997, a throat cancer scare in 2005 and a heart attack in 2011. He also collapsed on stage earlier this year, apparently the result of another heart attack. The band was forced to cancel several shows in 2014 after Parfitt was warned by doctors to rest after surgery.
Parfitt was planning on starting his solo career and penning his autobiography in the months ahead.
One of Parfitt's best-known guitar parts is the phased-up intro to Status Quo's early 1968 single, "Pictures of Matchstick Men," which was their only U.S. hit. You can hear it below.