Jeff Beck, best known for his stint as a guitarist with the rock band The Yardbirds, died on Tuesday, January 10. His representatives confirmed the death on Wednesday, January 11. The guitarist “suddenly” contracted bacterial meningitis which led to his death. 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,” his representatives said via his Twitter handle. “After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday. His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss,” the added. 

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Who was Jeff Beck? 

He was born in Wallington, England on June 24, 1944, to Arnold and Ethel Beck. With the Yardbirds, he first earned recognition as a musician. Later, he headlined the Jeff Beck Group and Beck, Bogert & Appice.

His releases have covered a variety of genres, including blues rock, hard rock, jazz fusion, and a fusion of guitar rock and electronica. In 1975, he transitioned to a primarily instrumental style with a concentration on the new sound.

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On the list of the 100 best guitarists published by Rolling Stone and other publications, Beck came in at number five.

His nickname is “the guitarist’s guitarist.” He is listed as “one of the most influential lead guitarists in rock” by Rolling Stone.

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Broadly praised by critics, Beck has won six Grammys for best rock instrumental performance and also one for best pop instrumental performance.

He was given the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music by the British Academy in 2014.

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As a member of the Yardbirds and as a solo performer, Beck was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice (2009).