Beatles associate Neil Aspinall dies

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LONDON -- Neil Aspinall, a longtime friend and business associate of the Beatles, has died in New York City, the surviving band members said Monday. He was 66.

Aspinall died at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, where he had been receiving treatment.

His death was announced in a statement released by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison, and the band's Apple Corps Ltd. company.

"All his friends and loved ones will greatly miss him, but will always retain the fondest memories of a great man," the statement said.

The statement didn't say when Aspinall died, but Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper reported Sunday that McCartney had flown out to see him.

Aspinall stepped down last year as chief executive of Apple Corps, the guardian of the Beatles' commercial interests.

A Liverpool school friend of McCartney and Harrison, Aspinall was the Beatles' first road manager and would drive them to gigs in his van. He later became their personal assistant, and in 1968 was given a management role at Apple Records -- the band's own record label.

As head of Apple Corps, Aspinall was executive producer of the hugely successful "Beatles Anthology" album and was behind other successes, including the "Beatles One" album.

"As a loyal friend, confidant and chief executive, Neil's trusting stewardship and guidance has left a far-reaching legacy for generations to come," the band's statement said.
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