Bernie Marsden, the original guitarist for Whitesnake, has died age 72.
The guitarist, who performed with the British rock band throughout the 1970s and ’80s, died “peacefully” on Thursday (August 24) surrounded by his wife and daughters.
“On behalf of his family, it is with deep sadness we announce the death of Bernie Marsden,” his family wrote in an Instagram post. “Bernie died peacefully on Thursday evening with his wife, Fran, and daughters, Charlotte and Olivia, by his side.
“Bernie never lost his passion for music, writing and recording new songs until the end.”
A cause of death has not been shared, but the BBC reported that he passed after an illness.
Marsden co-founded Whitesnake with former Deep Purple singer David Coverdale, co-writing some of the band’s biggest hits including ‘Here I Go Again’, ‘She’s a Woman’ and ‘Trouble’. The rock and blues guitarist also went on to have a solo career.
Coverdale is among those to have paid tribute to the late musician, writing that he was “honoured” to have shared the stage with Marsden.
I’ve just woken up to the awful news that my old friend & former Snake Bernie Marsden has passed,” he wrote on X/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.”
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 honored to know & share a stage with
RIP, Bernie XXX pic.twitter.com/KXwsDEICN6
— David Coverdale (@davidcoverdale) August 25, 2023
Marsden, who was from Buckingham, performed in bands as a teenager before getting his professional start with the rock band UFO in 1972. He went on to form Whitesnake with Coverdale in 1978, and played on their debut EP ‘Snakebite’ and five albums up until ‘Saints & Sinners’ in 1982.
During that period, he released two solo albums, ‘And About Time Too’ in 1979 and ‘Look at Me Now’ in 1981.
The guitarist left Whitesnake in 1981 before forming the band Alaska, who released ‘Heart of the Storm’ (1984) and ‘The Pack’ (1985).
In 1986, he formed MGM with former Whitesnake members Neil Murray and replacement guitarist Mel Galley, along with former Toto vocalist, Bobby Kimball.
Back in 2011 Marsden reunited with Whitesnake – the first time since 1981 – at the Sweden Rock Festival.