Former Whitesnake Guitarist Bernie Marsden Dead At 72

By Logan DeLoye

August 25, 2023

Bernie Marsden Of Whitesnake
Photo: Redferns

Former Whitesnake guitarist and solo artist Bernie Marsden has passed away at the age of 72. Marsden's death was confirmed in a statement shared by his publicist and obtained by Louder Sound.

"On behalf of his family, 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 and Olivia, by his side. Bernie never lost his passion for music, writing and recording new songs until the end." 

Former Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale expressed "sincere thoughts" regarding the death of his friend and college in wake of the tragic news, stating:

"I’ve just woken up to the awful news that my old friend and former Snake Bernie Marsden has passed. My sincere thoughts and prayers to his beloved family, friends and fans. A genuinely funny, gifted man, whom I was honored to know and share a stage with."

A cause of death was not revealed.

While Marsden is primarily known for his time with Whitesnake, his musical career certainly did not start there. According to Marsden's website, the musician (born on May 7th, 1951, in Buckingham, England) explored an affinity for music in his early teen years, forming rock band Skinny Cat at the age of 17. He continued creating music and eventually went professional, joining UFO in 1972. Marsden's time with UFO was brief as he left to tour Europe with Wild Turkey in 1973, with whom he made his first BBC recordings.

After leaving Wild Turkey, the guitarist joined three bands, each only lasting for a short time, (Hammer, Babe Ruth, and Paice Ashton Lord) resulting in a few Capitol Record albums, all of which featured members of iconic rock band Deep Purple. Marsden met David Coverdale in 1978 and went on to play for Whitesnake. He was featured in six of the band's albums including their very first EP. During this career-defining time, he also recorded two solo albums titled, “And About Time Too,” and “Look at Me Now.”

Marsden left Whitesnake in 1981 and formed "Alaska." The band made a few albums in the 80's but eventually parted ways as Marsden decided to carry on with solo work. He produced several albums throughout the 90's, and in 2011, rejoined Whitesnake for a performance at the Sweden Rock Festival. In 2017, the artist released an autobiography titled, Where’s My Guitar: On the Tourbus with the Snakeman, featuring what the website refers to as Marsden's "musical journey with humor and honesty and features many private, unseen pictures from his career."

Marsden's legacy will live on through his loved ones, his timeless lyrics, and his unforgettable performances.

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