Guitar great Jeff Beck has died at the age of 78, according to a statement from his family.
The English rocker — who was born Geoffrey Arnold Beck on June 24, 1944 — rose to fame as a member of the Yardbirds and later fronted the Jeff Beck Group and Beck, Bogert, and Appice. His skills as a guitarist landed him a spot in the top five of Rolling Stone’s top 100 guitarists of all time — ranking above Eddie Van Halen, B.B. King, and Chuck Berry.
A statement was released on Wednesday confirming the musician’s death and stating that he had passed after a brief and sudden battle with bacterial meningitis.
“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 ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss,” it read.
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 ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss. pic.twitter.com/4dvt5aGzlv
— Jeff Beck (@jeffbeckmusic) January 11, 2023
Fans quickly rushed to Twitter to share their memories and express their thoughts in the wake of the news.
“Few things captured my musical imagination as a teen than the Jeff Beck/Jimmy Page lineup of the Yardbirds, which lasted all of about 5 minutes but absolutely f***ing smoked. RIP,” Jay Jaffe tweeted.
“OMG, this is a shocker,” Doug Sovern added. “The legendary Jeff Beck, one of the all-time guitar greats, dies suddenly at 78. ‘Blow By Blow’ remains one of my most-played albums of all time.”
KISS’ Gene Simmons encouraged fans to listen to Beck’s music and remember him. “Heartbreaking news to report the late, great Jeff Back has sadly passed. No one played guitar like Jeff. Please get ahold of the first two Jeff Beck Group albums and behold greatness. RIP,” he said.
“I was totally shocked to hear the very sad news of Jeff Beck’s passing. Jeff was such a nice person and an outstanding iconic, genius guitar player – there will never be another Jeff Beck. His playing was very special & distinctively brilliant! He will be missed. RIP Jeff -Tony,” Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi shared his thoughts as well as a personal photo.
“Oh, My Heart…RIP, Jeff…I miss you already…” Whitesnake’s David Coverdale tweeted.
Oh, My Heart…RIP, Jeff…I miss you already…💔💔💔💔💔
Jeff Beck, Guitar Virtuoso and Blues-Rock Innovator, Dead at 78 – Rolling Stone https://t.co/oJ2O1vqbDk
— David Coverdale (@davidcoverdale) January 11, 2023
Beck had just recently completed a tour alongside actor Johnny Depp. Over the course of his career, he racked up 17 Grammy nominations and eight wins.