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Status Quo superfan pays tribute to guitarist Rick Parfitt after he died in hospital in Spain, aged 68

PUBLISHED: 13:30 25 December 2016 | UPDATED: 10:43 26 December 2016

Status Quo at Thetford Forest.

Status Quo at Thetford Forest.

Archant

Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt has died after suffering from a severe infection at the age of 68, his manager has said.

Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt of Status Quo have their picture taken by a fan on a mobile phone, at their book signing at Ottakars in Norwich, in 2004. Photo: Denise Bradley Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt of Status Quo have their picture taken by a fan on a mobile phone, at their book signing at Ottakars in Norwich, in 2004. Photo: Denise Bradley

The veteran musician was taken into hospital in Marbella, Spain, on Thursday evening due to complications with a pre-existing shoulder injury.

He died there at lunchtime yesterday, his manager and family said in a statement.

No stranger to the region - his father was born in Newmarket - Parfitt played at many venues across Norfolk and Suffolk during his time with Status Quo.

These included Thetford Forest, Holkham Hall, the Tower Ballroom in Great Yarmouth and at Norwich’s Carrow Road.

A cutting from the Evening News when Status Quo played at Carrow Road in 1997. Photo: Archant A cutting from the Evening News when Status Quo played at Carrow Road in 1997. Photo: Archant

It was at Carrow Road, in August 1997, that Parfitt made a triumphant return to the stage after recovering from an emergency quadruple heart bypass just months previous.

The band were due to play the gig - their only outdoor concert of the year and the first stadium event - on June 28, but it was cancelled after Mr Parfitt was taken ill.

Speaking after it was announced he would be able to play the rescheduled date, Parfitt said: “I can’t wait to get back on stage again. Although I’m still in a lot of pain, the doctors have told me that within three months I’ll feel 20 years younger - so God help the rest of the band!

“I’ve had over 2000 cards and messages of support from Quo fans throughout the world and they have really helped with my recovery. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone from the bottom of my revitalised heart.”

He added: “We all felt that it was important to play the comeback show on home ground and we’re delighted that everyone involved has managed to overcome the problems of rescheduling the Carrow Road show right on top of the new football season.”

Status Quo superfan Stephen Hagon, from Oulton, said yesterday: “I’m devastated, I’m only just back in the early hours after seeing Quo at Newcastle and Liverpool a total of 88 concerts with Quo, yes he had retired from Quo and his replacement Richie Malone is doing a fantastic job, but he will be missed, he had a great stage presence. I’m thankful that I had met him and got a guitar pic from him. 2016 has seen a lot of deaths of well know people now Rick as gone as well a very sad day.

Speaking to the Telegraph in 2014 and reminiscing about earning money once he was in Status Quo, Parfitt said: “I remember arriving home at 4am from a gig at Links Pavilion in Cromer, Norfolk, and had £400 in my pocket. I woke up my parents and threw the money up in the air in their bedroom. It was exciting. When money started to flow, it was a very warm feeling.”

In 2009 Parfitt was made an OBE, along with bandmate Francis Rossi, for their hugely successful musical career, including more than 118 million record sales worldwide and a record-breaking 64 British hit singles.

The Surrey-born guitarist had been dogged by health concerns for years, most recently pulling out of the band’s tour following a heart attack over the summer.

Manager Simon Porter said at the time Parfitt had “died” for several minutes, which had affected him mentally.

He first suffered a quadruple heart bypass in 1997 after touring with the band for decades, during which time he had weathered drink and drug problems.

The statement from his manager and family said: “We are truly devastated to have to announce that Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt has passed away at lunchtime today.

“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.

“This tragic news comes at a time when Rick was hugely looking forward to launching a solo career with an album and autobiography planned for 2017 following his departure from Status Quo’s touring activities on medical advice.

“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.

“Rick is survived by his wife Lyndsay, their twins Tommy and Lily and Rick’s adult children Rick Jnr and Harry.

“No further comment will be made at this time and Rick’s family, and the band, ask for their privacy to be respected at this difficult time.”

As a member of Status Quo, Parfitt found success globally with hits such as Rockin’ All Over The World and Whatever You Want.

In 2015, the band passed a milestone enjoyed by only a handful of musicians - spending a total of 500 weeks in the UK album charts.

Following news of his death, their official website updated to show a full-screen picture of the rocker on stage with his guitar.

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