Bernie Marsden, the rock and blues guitarist who rose to fame with glam metal band Whitesnake in the 1970s and '80s, has died at 72.
Marsden's family shared the news of his death on Instagram, writing that he died peacefully on Thursday, Aug. 24, in the presence of his wife, Fran, and his daughters, Charlotte and Olivia.
Joby Sessions/Future Publishing via Getty Original Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden
"Bernie never lost his passion for music, writing, and recording new songs until the end," the post read.
Marsden had played with rock groups UFO and Paice Ashton Lord when former Deep Purple singer Dave Coverdale recruited him to join the newly formed Whitesnake in 1978. Marsden co-wrote several of the band's hits, including "Here I Go Again," "She's a Woman," and "Fool for Your Loving."
Coverdale mourned Marsden's passing on social media, writing "I've just woken up to the awful news that my old friend & former Snake Bernie Marsden has passed. My sincere thoughts & prayers to his beloved family, friends & fans. A genuinely funny, gifted man, whom I was honored to know & share a stage with."
Coverdale also shared several photos and video clips featuring Marsden on his Twitter account.
Marsden released the solo albums And About Time Too and Look at Me Now while he was with Whitesnake, eventually leaving the group in 1981. He went on to form the groups Alaska and MGM and then reunited with Whitesnake in 2011 to play the Sweden Rock Festival.
Fin Costello/Redferns Whitesnake
Marsden was also a preeminent collector of guitars; his 2018 book, Tales of Tone and Volume, is a photographic ode to "one of the most unique and expansive private guitar collections in the world," according to Marsden's website. In his honor, PRS Guitars created a Bernie Marsden Signature Edition guitar, and Gibson Guitars released a limited-edition Gibson Les Paul solid-body electric guitar called "The Beast."
The Gibson Guitar U.K. Instagram account posted its condolences at the news of Marsden's death, calling him a true legend of the guitar world. "We were lucky to have known you," the post read.
Marsden was born in Buckingham, England, on May 7, 1951. He recorded the live acoustic album Going to My Hometown at Buckingham's Radcliffe Centre, and in 2018 and 2019 he held his Guitar Mojo Experience in Buckinghamshire. The University of Buckingham awarded Marsden an honorary Master of Arts degree in 2015.
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