Bernie Marsden dead: Tributes paid to Whitesnake guitarist who dies ‘peacefully’ aged 72

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Bernie Marsden, the guitarist for British band Whitesnake, has died at the age of 72, the family has announced.

Tributes have poured in for Bernie Marsden, a guitarist for British rock group Whitesnake in the 1970s and 80s, who has died at the age of 72. Announcing the death on Friday night (August 25), his family said the veteran musician died “peacefully” on Thursday (August 24) surrounded by his wife and daughters.

Marsden co-founded Whitesnake and co-wrote hits including’ Fool For Your Loving’ and ‘Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues’ with David Coverdale, before parting ways for a solo career.

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The statement, which was published by his family on X (formerly known as Twitter) said: “It is with deep sadness we announce the death of Bernie Marsden.Bernie died peacefully on Thursday evening with his wife, Fran, and daughters, Charlotte & Olivia, by his side. Bernie never lost his passion for music, writing and recording until the end.”

Whitesnake lead vocalist Coverdale also paid a tribute to Marsden. He wrote on X: “Good Morning…I’ve just woken up to the awful news that my old friend & former Snake Bernie Marsden has passed.

“My sincere thoughts & prayers to his beloved family, friends & fans. A genuinely funny, gifted man, whom I was honoured to know & share a stage with. RIP, Bernie.”

Marsden was born in Buckingham and was a member of numerous bands as a teenager before signing with UFO in 1972. He and Coverdale co-founded Whitesnake in 1978 and contributed to the band’s debut EP and first five albums.

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He released two solo albums during that time: And About Time Too and Look At Me Now. Marsden formed Alaska after quitting Whitesnake in 1981, releasing two albums in the 1980s before temporarily creating MGM with Neil Murray and Mel Galley.

Marsden self-published his autobiography, Where’s My Guitar: On The Tourbus With The Snakeman, in early 2017, which detailed his musical journey and included previously unseen photos from his career.

Bernie Marsden has died aged 72 (Photo by Venla Shalin/Redferns)Bernie Marsden has died aged 72 (Photo by Venla Shalin/Redferns)
Bernie Marsden has died aged 72 (Photo by Venla Shalin/Redferns) | Redferns

Tributes have since flooded the comment section, with many expressing condolences in the wake of his passing. Fellow musician Jack Bruce wrote: “Dear Fran, Charlotte and Olivia, we extend our sincere condolences to you and all of Bernie’s family, friends and fans, on behalf of the family of Jack Bruce. Bernie was always so warm and kind and we have very special memories of Bernie and Jack together.”

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