Guitarist’s death marked by Wolverhampton tribute

Fans gather to commemorate Rick Parfitt. Rachel Watts reports.

Status Quo fans gathered outside Wolverhampton’s Civic Hall on Friday 30th December, to pay their respects to Rick Parfitt, who died on Christmas Eve aged 68, in Spain, following an infection after surgery to a shoulder injury.

Parfitt had suffered a series of health problems in recent years, including a quadruple heart bypass in 1997, a throat cancer scare in 2005, and heart attacks in 2011 and 2014. He suffered another heart attack in June 2016, technically ‘dying’ for several minutes, which lead to the announcement in September that he would no longer be taking part in any further live performances. Status Quo confirmed that Irish guitarist Ritchie Malone would be stepping in to replace Parfitt until the end of the Last Night of the Electric tour dates. The gathering at the Civic Hall was at the venue for some of the band’s most memorable recent concerts.

In addition to tributes such as the one that took place in Wolverhampton, celebrities have been paying their respect to the legendary rocker on Faecbook and Twitter, including Queen guitarist Brian May, The Who and Paul McCartney. Parfitt’s bandmate of almost 50 years, Francis Rossi issued a statement, saying that “I was not ready for this. Rick was the archetypal rock star, one of the originals, he never lost his joy, his mischievous edge and his penchant for living life at high speed, high volume, high risk. His life was never boring, he was louder and faster and more carefree than the rest of us. I was not ready for this.”

A Rick Parfitt Book of Condolence has been set up on Facebook, with hundreds of fans leaving heart warming stories, and messages.