Neil Aspinall - the 'real Fifth Beatle' dies

Neil Aspinall, a close friend of the Beatles and the man who ran the Apple music empire, has died, his family said today.

The 66-year-old worked as a roadie and accountant for the band before becoming chief executive of Apple Corps, and was known by some in the industry as the real "Fifth Beatle".

In a statement released on behalf of Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the company described him as a "great man" who would be missed.

In the statement, also on behalf of Beatle widows Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, Apple Corps said: "As a loyal friend, confidant and chief executive, Neil's trusting stewardship and guidance has left a far-reaching legacy for generations to come.

"All his friends and loved ones will greatly miss him but will always retain the fondest memories of a great man."