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Beatles Manager and Mentor Neil Aspinall Passes Away

March 24, 2008 12:26 PM ET

Neil Aspinall, the Beatles' first road manager and head of the band's Apple Corps for four decades, passed away in New York at age 66. Considered by many to be "the real fifth Beatle," Aspinall was a childhood friend of George Harrison and Paul McCartney who left his job as an accountant to become the band's first roadie, driver, spotlight operator and confidante. Later, after Brian Epstein's passing in 1967, Aspinall became the head of Apple Corps, spearheading the marketing of the Beatles for forty years. Aspinall was most notably responsible for the wildly successful Anthology project and the recent Cirque du Soleil tribute show LOVE. In a statement today, McCartney, Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison said, "Neil's trusting stewardship and guidance has left a far-reaching legacy for generations to come. All his friends and loved ones will greatly miss him but will always retain the fondest memories of a great man."

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