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'Slowhand' picks up the pen to write his life story

Clapton, 60, has signed a deal for the book detailing his life as a guitar hero.

Published by Century, a subsiduary of Random House, for a sum rumoured to be in the region of £3.5m, the autobiography will be released in Spring 2007.

Clapton achieved iconic status in the late 60s with the band Cream ."

Born in Surrey, in 1945, the illegitimate son of a Canadian soldier, Clapton was brought up by his maternal grandparents. His grandfather gave him a guitar at the age of 14, and he copied the style of great blues guitarists.

He established his reputation during 18 months with the Yardbirds, at the age of 18, earning the nickname "Slowhand", before joining John Mayall's Bluesbreakers where he earned a second nickname: "God".

It was while leading Derek and The Dominos that he wrote "Layla", a song inspired by a love triangle between himself, the former Beatle George Harrison and Harrison's then-wife, Patti Boyd. He later married Boyd in March 1979.

Clapton is credited with bringing an international audience to Bob Marley by covering the reggae star's "I Shot the Sheriff", inventing the genre "white reggae".

Clapton will write the as-yet-untitled book with Christopher Simon Sykes, who he has been friends with since 1967.

Richard Cable, Managing Director of the Random House Division said: "Eric is a rock legend. His story encompasses genius, fame, tragedy and triumph over adversity. We are thrilled to be publishing this book."