Rick Parfitt, Guitarist of Status Quo, Dies at 68

Rick Parfitt Getty 2016 - H
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The British rocker had been hospitalized since Thursday.

Rick Parfitt, a hard-rocking British guitarist and songwriter who had multiple hits over the decades with the rock band Status Quo, has died in Spain at age 68.

His manager, Simon Porter, and Parfitt's family said in a statement that Parfitt died in a hospital in Marbella, Spain, on Saturday from a severe infection.

"We are truly devastated to have to announce that Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt has passed away at lunchtime today," the statement read, asking for privacy for the family and the band.

The statement said Parfitt had been hospitalized since Thursday due to complications from an earlier shoulder injury stemming from a fall. It said he had been looking forward to starting a solo career after he stopped touring with the band because of medical issues including a heart attack this year.

Status Quo formed in the 1960s and kept legions of devoted fans throughout the years. His partnership with Francis Rossi provided sparks on stage and in the studio. They were most popular in Britain but had followers in dozens of countries.

Parfitt, known for his aggressive style, often played on his signature 1965 white Fender Telecaster or other similar models. He wrote some of Status Quo's best-known songs including "Whatever You Want" and "Backwater."

The band's website said Parfitt was known as "The Womorr," which stands for "the wild old man of rock and roll" but added that had changed to "mild" over the years.

The band played one of the biggest concerts in history when they opened the Live Aid show in London in 1985, ripping into a version of "Rockin' All Over the World" that left the crowd delirious.

Parfitt's face aged over the years but he retained his long blonde hair, denim outfits and no-holds-barred rock-and-roll style. He slowed down a bit after quadruple heart bypass surgery in 1997 but stayed on the road with the band until this year, when a heart attack forced him to stop touring.

He divided his time between Spain and London.

Porter said Parfitt is survived by his wife, Lyndsay, and four children: Tommy, Lily, Rick Jr. and Harry.

Rick Jr. took to Twitter  early Saturday to say, "I loved him hugely."

Other tributes also poured in via social media, many bemoaning the loss of another music legend in 2016.