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Former UFO guitarist Paul Chapman dies aged 66

Neil Carter, Phil Mogg and Paul Chapman of UFO perform on stage at The Reading Festival on August 23rd, 1980 in Reading, Berkshire, England.
Neil Carter, Phil Mogg and Paul Chapman of UFO perform on stage at The Reading Festival on August 23, 1980 in Reading, Berkshire, England. (Image credit: Pete Still/Redferns)

Paul Chapman, former guitarist with UFO and Skid Row, has died aged 66.

The news was confirmed by his son in a Facebook post on his father’s page.

“It is with a heavy heart writing this, today is my dad’s 66th birthday. He passed away earlier this afternoon. He was a brilliant, energetic, loving and most carefree person and the first man I ever loved.

“Everyone he came in contact with loved him. no ADORED him. will keep everyone posted on his celebration of life. I appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers as his family grieves and processes everything at this time. I love you Dad. So much.”

Wales-born Chapman had the unenviable task of stepping into the shoes of some of rock’s biggest guitarists: he had a brief stint replacing Gary Moore in Skid Row (1971-1972), before joining UFO - first alongside Michael Schenker for the 1974 Phenomenon tour, and then as his fulltime replacement from 1978 onwards.

During Chapman’s tenure with the band, UFO released four albums - No Place to Run, The Wild, the Willing and the Innocent, Mechanix, and Making Contact - before the group disbanded in March 1983.

After relocating to Florida, USA, Chapman formed a number of bands, including DOA, Waysted, Gator Country and Killer Bee.

In recent years, Chapman spent much of his time teaching one-on-one guitar lessons.

“Just woke up to sad news of Paul Chapman passing,” said Motörhead’s Phil Campbell. “He was my main influence on guitar for many years and a brilliant bloke. Thoughts are with his family. RIP Tonka”

“I’ve known Paul Chapman since 1982 when UFO and Ozzy toured during Diary of a Madman tour,” said Rudy Sarzo. “Outstanding musician and friend.”