Rick Parfitt, Status Quo Guitarist, Dead at 68

Guitarist dies from severe infection stemming from shoulder injury sustained in recent fall

Rick Parfitt, guitarist in the British rock group Status Quo, died Saturday at the age of 68 following complications from a shoulder injury. Credit: Christie Goodwin/Redferns

Rick Parfitt, guitarist and singer in the long-running British rock group Status Quo, died Saturday following complications from a shoulder injury he sustained in a fall. He was 68.

"We are truly devastated to have to announce that Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt has passed away," Parfitt's family and Status Quo manager Simon Porter said in a joint statement Saturday.

"He died in hospital in Marbella, Spain as a result of a severe infection, having been admitted to hospital on Thursday evening following complications to a shoulder injury incurred by a previous fall."

Parfitt was a member of Status Quo for nearly 50 years, spanning from 1967 until October of this year, when the guitarist announced his retirement from performing live after suffering a heart attack earlier in 2016.

"This tragic news comes at a time when Rick was hugely looking forward to launching a solo career with an album and autobiography planned for 2017 following his departure from Status Quo’s touring activities on medical advice," the statement continued. "He will be sorely missed by his family, friends, fellow band members, management, crew and his dedicated legion of fans from throughout the world, gained through 50 years of monumental success with Status Quo."

Formed as the Scorpions and then the Spectres by guitarist Francis Rossi and bassist Alan Lancaster in 1962, the band changed their name to the Status Quo in 1967 with the addition of Parfitt. The band released their debut LP Picturesque Matchstickable Messages From the Status Quo in 1968; the album featured the psychedelic anthem and Top 10 Hot 100 single "Pictures of Matchstick Men."

Parfitt recorded over 30 albums with Status Quo during his tenure in the band, including co-writing some of their biggest hits like "Whatever You Want," "Again and Again," "Rain" and "Living on an Island."

Status Quo also served as the opening band at the monumental Live Aid concert in 1985, performing three songs at London's Wembley Stadium.

Queen guitarist Brian May tweeted Saturday, "Shocked and so sad to hear of the passing of Rick Parfitt. Hard to find words. You truly joyfully rocked our world. RIP dear buddy."

In October, after nearly a half-century alongside Rossi, Parfitt revealed that he would quit performing live with Status Quo after suffering a heart attack in June; the guitarist previously underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 1997, the BBC reported. Following that health scare, Parfitt admitted he quit doing drugs and significantly cut down on his drinking.

"I haven't smoked a joint for 27 years and I haven't done any cocaine for 10 years. I just do normal stuff - the kids keep me busy and I go shopping with the missus," Parfitt said in 2014.

Status Quo's manager Simon Porter said that Parfitt "died" for several minutes following the June heart attack, which left the guitarist with "mild cognitive impairments." Although Parfitt said he made a full recovery, his role in Status Quo was filled by Richie Malone. Status Quo wrapped up their U.K. tour, their first without Parfitt, Friday night.