Actor Johnny Depp reportedly rushed to the hospital earlier this week, sitting “by Jeff’s bedside” in the hours before legendary guitarist Jeff Beck died at the age of 78.
Beck’s family confirmed his death — due to a short battle with meningitis — in a statement released on Wednesday.
“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. His family asks for privacy while they process this tremendous loss,” the statement read.
According to a report published by People Magazine, Depp “is totally devastated” by the loss of his friend, longtime collaborator, and performing partner.
“They had a really tight friendship, they were extremely close, and he got even closer over this past summer when they were touring together. The sickness came on really quickly and it all deteriorated rapidly in the last couple weeks,” a source told People, adding, “Johnny is still processing this news. He’s devastated.”
The two even released an album — “18” and an official music video for “This is a Song for Miss Hedy Lamarr,” the album’s first single.
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star had nothing but praise for Beck, saying, “It’s an extraordinary honor to play and write music with Jeff, one of the true greats and someone I am now privileged enough to call my brother.”
And the respect appeared to go both ways — Beck reflected on their collaboration and said that his only concern was that people who knew Depp as an actor might struggle to wrap their brains around Depp as a rock musician.
“I haven’t had another creative partner like him for ages. He was a major force on this record,” Beck said of Depp. “I just hope people will take him seriously as a musician because it’s a hard thing for some people to accept that Johnny Depp can sing rock and roll.”
Beck, who finished his career with 17 Grammy nominations and eight wins, was fondly remembered by many fans and colleagues. He ranked 5th on Rolling Stone’s top 100 guitarists of all time, besting greats like Chuck Berry, B.B. King, and Eddie Van Halen.