Bernie Marsden, original guitarist for the band Whitesnake, has died, according to a statement from his family. He was 72 years old.
Marsden “died peacefully Thursday evening with his wife, Fran, and daughters, Charlotte and Olivia, by his side,” his family wrote on instagram. “Bernie never lost his passion for music, writing and recording new songs until the end.”
One of the UK’s foremost rock and blues guitarists, Marsden wrote or co-wrote many of Whitesnake’s hit songs, including Fool for Your Loving, She’s a Woman, Walking in the Shadow of the Blues, Trouble and the international hit Here I Go. Encore.
Born in Buckingham in 1951, Marsden made his debut with rock band UFO in 1972. After stints in several bands and a short-lived project with former Deep Purple members called Paice Ashton Lord, Marsden formed Whitesnake in London in 1978 with the old one. Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale and guitarist Micky Moody. Marsden played on the first EP, five albums and a live album, from Snakebite (1978) to Saints & Sinners (1982). He also released two solo albums during this period, And About Time Too (1979) and Look at Me Now (1981).
Marsden was well known for its extensive and coveted private collection of guitars, which included more than 200 pieces. In June, one of his jewels, a 1959 Gibson LesPaul The standard known as “The Beast” briefly went on sale with a price over $1.3 million.
On Friday morning, his former Whitesnake bandmate Coverdale paid tribute to Marsden on social media. “I just woke up to the terrible news that my old friend and former Snake Bernie Marsden had passed away,” he wrote on Twitter. “My sincere thoughts and prayers to his beloved family, friends and fans. A really funny and gifted man, whom I had the honor to know and to share a stage with.