Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden dies after illness, aged 72

Guitarist Bernie Marsden, who performed with the British rock group Whitesnake in the 1970s and 80s has died, aged 72.

The musician, from Buckingham, died "peacefully" on Thursday surrounded by his wife and daughters.

Along with David Coverdale, Marsden co-founded Whitesnake and co-wrote hits including Here I Go Again and Fool For Your Loving, and had a solo career.

"Bernie never lost his passion for music, writing and recording until the end," a family statement said.

Whitesnake lead vocalist Coverdale - the former lead singer with Deep Purple - said he had been "honoured" to share the stage with Marsden.

'Gifted man'

"Good Morning...I've just woken up to the awful news that my old friend & former Snake Bernie Marsden has passed," he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"My sincere thoughts & prayers to his beloved family, friends & fans.

"A genuinely funny, gifted man, whom I was honored to know & share a stage with. RIP, Bernie."

Coverdale also shared other tributes to Marsden on social media.

Marsden performed in several Buckingham bands as a teenager before turning professional with UFO in 1972.

He and Coverdale formed Whitesnake in 1978, playing on the band's debut EP and first five albums.

During that time, he recorded two solo albums: And About Time Too and Look At Me Now.

After leaving Whitesnake in 1981, Marsden formed Alaska, making two albums in the 1980s, before briefly forming MGM with Neil Murray and Mel Galley.

The band also included Toto vocalist Bobby Kimball.

In 2011, he reunited with Whitesnake for the first time since 1981 at the Sweden Rock Festival, becoming the only original member of the band to play with a later line-up.

Three years ago, Marsden sold off a collection of amplifiers and speakers, saying it was "time to pass them on to someone else".

According to the University of Buckingham, which made him an honorary Master of the Arts in 2015, Marsden's first "real" jobs were at Buckingham Borough Council, a local dairy and with builders merchants.

He is survived by his wife, Fran, and daughters Charlotte and Olivia.

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