Jeff Beck, the guitarist hailed as one of the most iconic rock icons of the 1960s, has died at 78.
Beck’s representative confirmed in a statement that the legendary musician died after “suddenly” contracting an illness. He passed away peacefully on Tuesday (January 10).
“On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing. After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday,” reads the statement, shared on Beck’s social media channels on Wednesday (January 11). “His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”
Beck, who was born in England in 1944, was known for his “urgent, in-your-face guitar.” It was “so expressive that he didn’t need a singer,” according to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Beck, a double Hall of Fame inductee (inducted as a solo artist in the performers category in 2009 by Jimmy Page, and as a member of the Yardbirds in the early 1990s), built his first guitar when he was 15 years old. He “learned the instrument inside and out before mastering everything from heavy metal to jazz,” the Hall of Fame remembers of the visionary artist.
Speaking of working with both music and lyrics, Beck once said:
“You can set the mood with an instrumental, but you can’t really tell a story. That’s not what you would expect to hear from someone who once remarked, ‘Good riddance to singers.’ But the truth is, I play better when I play off the lyrics in a song.”
Beck is reportedly survived by his wife of nearly two decades, Sandra Cash.