Bernie Marsden, best known as the original guitarist for Whitesnake, has died at the age of 72, his family and bandmates confirmed in social media posts.
"On behalf of his family, it is with deep sadness we announce the death of Bernie Marsden," reads the statement. "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."
Whitesnake singer David Coverdale addressed the loss as well.
"I've just woken up to the awful news that my old friend and former Snake Bernie Marsden has passed," Coverdale said. "My sincere thoughts and prayers to his beloved family, friends and fans. A genuinely funny, gifted man, whom I was honored to know and share a stage with."
Marsden, Coverdale and guitarist Mick Moody formed Whitesnake in 1978 following Marsden's stints with various artists including UFO, Cozy Powell and Paice Ashton Lord. Marsden played and recorded with Whitesnake through 1982's Saints & Sinners, which contains Whitesnake's career-defining hit "Here I Go Again."
Marsden continued to play music after his departure from Whitesnake and accumulated a truly staggering discography. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and fans.