Guitarist Bert Weedon, who played with stars including Frank Sinatra and inspired millions to pick up the instrument with his Play In A Day books, has died at the age of 91.
The musician had "been poorly" for a while and died at home in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, this morning, his friend John Adrian said today.
Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney and Brian May are among the stars who learned to play guitar from his books.
Mr Adrian, who met Weedon through his charity work, said: "He had been poorly for a while but, even so, this was sudden.
"He was one of my dearest friends."
Weedon was born in east London and bought his first guitar in Petticoat Lane market when he was 12.
The man who became known as Mr Guitar started out playing with big bands including the hugely popular Ted Heath band, before starting on a solo career which saw him sell millions of records and notch up hits including Guitar Boogie Shuffle and Nashville Boogie.
The arrival of rock 'n' roll ended his run of hit singles, but provided him with a new role as an in-demand session man who played with stars including Cliff Richard, Adam Faith and Billy Fury.
His first Play In A Day book was published in 1957 and the books have sold in their millions.
Clapton openly acknowledged his debt to Weedon, saying he had "never met a player of any consequence" who had not learned from the books.
DJ Mike Read said Weedon was "one of the first English guitarists" and played on some of the earliest UK rock 'n' roll records.
He said: "The big thing was Play In A Day. His books inspired everyone from Hank Marvin to Eric Clapton.
"Of course you couldn't really play in a day, but it gave you an idea.
"Bert didn't have his first hit until he was in his 40s so he had paid his dues but he was too late to be one of those guitarist heartthrobs.
"But when guys like Tommy Steele wanted a guitarist on their records it was Bert that they wanted."
Singer and guitarist Joe Brown said: "I am very sad to hear of the death of my dear old friend and brother Water Rat Bert Weedon who was a lovely man and a great inspiration to many British guitar players in the early days, myself included. My heart goes out to his wife Maggie and all the family."
Weedon is survived by his wife and two sons.