Rick Parfitt, the guitarist of British rock group Status Quo, died in hospital on Saturday in Spain aged 68 after suffering from a severe infection.
“He will be sorely missed by his family, friends, fellow band members, management, crew and his dedicated legion of fans from throughout the world, gained through 50 years of monumental success with Status Quo,” his family and Status Quo Manager Simon Porter said in a joint statement.
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“He died in hospital in Marbella, Spain as a result of a severe infection, having been admitted to hospital on Thursday evening following complications to a shoulder injury incurred by a previous fall,” his family said. Parfitt is survived by his wife Lyndsay, their twins Tommy and Lily and Rick’s adult children Rick Jnr and Harry.
“I cannot describe the sadness I feel right now. To many he was a rockstar, to me he was simply ‘Dad’, and I loved him hugely. RIP Pappa Parf,” Rick Jnr said on Twitter. Born in Woking, in Surrey, England, on 12 October 1948, Parfitt learned the guitar at 11 and met future Status Quo partner Francis Rossi at Butlins holiday camp when they were teenagers in the 1960s.
The meeting would herald one of the most sucessful British rock bands of the 20th Century, with hits such as “Rockin’ All Over The World” and “Whatever You Want”. Thrashing long blond hair while playing a white Telecaster guitar, Parfitt, in the words of Queen guitarist Brian May, “joyfully rocked our world”.
Beside the fame, wealth and women of a top rock career, Parfitt battled drugs and alcohol which took a toll on his health. He had quadruple heart bypass in 1997 but while recovering he continued to smoke in hospital. He was a self confessed drug addict for many years, though he later kicked the habit.
“I haven’t smoked a joint for 27 years and I haven’t done any cocaine for 10 years. I just do normal stuff – the kids keep me busy and I go shopping with the missus,” he told reporters in 2014. Parfitt pulled out of the band’s tour on medical advice.
In a music career spanning more than 50 years, Parfitt appealed to millions with the Quo’s brand of boogie-woogie rock, particularly with hits such as “Whatever You Want” which he co-wrote.
“Turn around, give me a shout, I take it all, You squeeze me dry, And now today, You couldn’t even say goodbye,” the lyrics read.