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Founding UFO bassist Pete Way dies aged 69

English Rock band UFO perform live on stage in Oxford, England in January 1980. Left to right: bassist Pete Way and guitarist Paul Chapman.
(Image credit: Fin Costello/Redferns)

Founding UFO bass player Pete Way has died aged 69.

The news was broken in a statement posted on his official Facebook page, which reads, “Iconic bass player Pete Way founder of UFO, Waysted and, latterly, The Pete Way Band has died.

“He sustained life threatening injuries in an accident two months ago but fought hard until finally succumbing to those injuries at 11.35am BST today. His wife, Jenny, was at his side.”

Way founded UFO in 1968 alongside high school friends Phil Mogg, Andy Parker and Mick Bolton, with Michael Schenker joining shortly after.

UFO released a string of successful albums with this line-up before Way departed the group in 1983 to briefly form Fastway with Motörhead guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke - but left that project to play with Ozzy Osbourne on the Diary of a Madman tour.

Subsequently, Way formed Waysted alongside UFO keyboardist and guitarist Paul Raymond, Fun Muir, Frank Noon and Ronnie Kayfield.

Waysted released eight albums, their success peaking with third album Save Your Prayers. Way put the group on hold for much of the '90s to join the reformed UFO in 1992.

Way was known for his love of the Fender P-Bass during UFO’s original tenure, but later switched to Gibson and Epiphone Thunderbirds, citing a harder tone.

In the past decade, Way battled a number of health conditions, including prostate cancer in 2013, and a heart attack in 2016.

He had recently finished a solo album, Walking on the Edge, with Guns N’ Roses producer Mike Clink.

His UFO and Waysted bandmate, Paul Chapman, passed away in June this year.

Stars from the world of bass and guitar have paid tribute to Way on social media, including Michael Schenker, Geezer Butler, Kirk Hammett and David Ellefson. We’ve shared a selection below.