Rock Star Dies After ‘Sudden’ Meningitis Battle
An icon gone. Guitarist Jeff Beck died after a short battle with meningitis, his family announced. He 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,” the two-time Hall of Fame inductee’s family said in a statement to Us Weekly on Wednesday, January 11, one day after the singer’s death. “After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday. His family asks for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”
Per the Mayo Clinic, meningitis — which can be either viral or bacterial — “is an infection and inflammation of the fluid and membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.” Though rarer than its viral counterpart, bacterial meningitis is by far the more serious of the two, with the organization noting it “can cause death within days without prompt antibiotic treatment” and* “delayed treatment also increases the risk of permanent brain damage.”
Beck won eight Grammy awards throughout his illustrious career, which included 18 studio albums from 1968 to 2022. His final record, 18, was a collaboration with close friend Johnny Depp, who famously performed with the musician amid the actor’s trial against Amber Heard in May.
The “Going Down” singer — who performed both solo and with various bands, including the Yardbirds and his own Jeff Beck Group, over the years — embarked on tour last fall, traveling the country from September 2022 to November 2022 with fellow musicians Depp, 59, ZZ Top and Ann Wilson.
Beck’s fellow rockers expressed their shock and devastation at the news of the Grammy winner’s unexpected death.
“I can’t express how saddened I am to hear of @JeffBeckMusic’s passing,” Ozzy Osbourne wrote via Twitter on Wednesday. “What a terrible loss for his family, friends & his many fans. It was such an honor to have known Jeff & an incredible honor to have had him play on my most recent album, #PatientNumber9. Long live #JeffBeck.”
Kiss frontman Gene Simmons also paid tribute to the late rock star, writing: “Heartbreaking news to report the late, great Jeff Back has sadly passed. No one played guitar like Jeff. Please get ahold of the first two Jeff Beck Group albums and behold greatness. RIP.”
Simmons’ bandmate Paul Stanley shared, “WOW. What awful news. Jeff Beck, one of the all time guitar masters has died. From The Yardbirds and The Jeff Beck Group on, he blazed a trail impossible to follow. Play on now and forever. @jeffbeckmusic.”
Beck is survived by his wife, Sandra Cash, whom he married in 2005. (The “Hi Ho Silver Lining” artist was previously married to Patricia Brown from 1963 to 1967.)