Bernie Marsden death: Whitesnake guitarist dies at 72

British musician dies ‘peacefully’ surrounded by family

Mike Bedigan
Saturday 26 August 2023 04:52 BST
Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden dies at the age of 72 (Ian West/PA)
Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden dies at the age of 72 (Ian West/PA)

Guitarist Bernie Marsden, who performed with British rock group Whitesnake in the 1970s and 80s has died at the age of 72, his family has announced.

The British musician died “peacefully” on Thursday surrounded by his wife and daughters.

Along with David Coverdale, Marsden co-founded Whitesnake and co-wrote hits including Here I Go Again and Fool For Your Loving, before going on to enjoy a solo career.

An online statement on behalf of his family, put out on Friday, read: “It is with deep sadness we announce the death of Bernie Marsden.

“Bernie died peacefully on Thursday evening with his wife, Fran, and daughters, Charlotte & Olivia, by his side.

“Bernie never lost his passion for music, writing and recording until the end.”

Whitesnake lead vocalist Coverdale said he had been “honoured” to share the stage with Marsden.

“Good Morning…I’ve just woken up to the awful news that my old friend & former Snake Bernie Marsden has passed,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“My sincere thoughts & prayers to his beloved family, friends & fans. A genuinely funny, gifted man, whom I was honored to know & share a stage with. RIP, Bernie.”

Coverdale also shared other tributes to Marsden on social media.

Marsden was born in Buckingham and performed in several bands as a teenager before turning professional with UFO in 1972.

He and Coverdale formed Whitesnake in 1978, playing on the band’s debut EP and first five albums.

During that time, he recorded two solo albums: And About Time Too and Look At Me Now.

After leaving Whitesnake in 1981, Marsden formed Alaska, making two albums in the 1980s, before briefly forming MGM with Neil Murray and Mel Galley.

The band also included Toto vocalist Bobby Kimball.

In 2011, he reunited with Whitesnake for the first time since 1981 at the Sweden Rock Festival, becoming the only original member of the band to play with a later line-up.

In early 2017, Marsden self-published his autobiography, Where’s My Guitar: On The Tourbus With The Snakeman, which covered his musical journey and featured private, unseen pictures from his career.

Outside of making records, he has played with some of the greatest rock and roll musicians of all time, including Robert Plant, Paul Weller, Jon Lord and Gary Moore.

He was also part of Sir Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band.

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