Legendary musician Jeff Beck passed away on Tuesday due to complications from bacterial meningitis, according to his family. A rep for Beck issued a statement to the press on Wednesday confirming his death and requesting privacy at this time. Beck was 78 years old.
"On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck's passing. After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday," the statement read, according to a report by Variety. "His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss."
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, bacterial meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes around the spinal cord and brain. When infected, these membranes can swell so that they press on the spine or brain. This can happen very quickly, and the consequences can be dire. It's not uncommon for this condition to be life-threatening.
More details on Beck's case are not available, but it seems likely that the illness came over him quickly. Beck was just recently on tour supporting his new album 18, and there were no reports of him being ill on the road. Beck remains one of the pre-eminent rock musicians of his time, and fans everywhere are devastated by this loss.
Beck was born and raised in England and attended art school in London, where he immediately began playing with various bands. He joined the Yardbirds in 1965 – the band that brought him to widespread international success. However, in 1967 he was fired for the band for his volatile temper and inconsistent attendance. These were not the only collaborators to accuse Beck of being a perfectionist to a fault. Undaunted, Beck formed The Jeff Beck Group and signed a deal with Columbia Records.
In the years that followed, Beck developed a distinct musical style that set him apart from his contemporaries. He was revered for his technical guitar playing and his innovation when it came to electric guitar sounds in the genre. He was also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice – once as a member of the Yardbirds and later as a solo artist.
Beck married his wife Sandra in 2005 and they lived together in England. His representative asked for privacy on her behalf in the wake of his heartbreaking news. There has been no word yet about public memorial services for the late guitarist.