Music world is mourning the death of Dick Wagner. The guitarist, who played for musicians such as Alice Cooper and Lou Reed, passed away on July 30 at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center, Arizona following a respiratory failure. He was 71.
As reported by The Arizona Republic (via USA Today), Susan Michelson, Wagner's manager and business partner, said that the late guitarist had underwent a coronary procedure. "Then, he got much better and then worse again. It kind of went up and down a couple times. And then, the last five days, he was declining. It's still a complete shock because I'm used to him turning around," she explained.
Wagner was born in Iowa. He was recruited by Alice Cooper's producer Bob Ezrin in the 1970s alongside guitarist Steve Hunter and they joined Reed's tour.
Cooper has released a statement on Facebook after learning of the sad news. "Even though we know it's inevitable, we never expect to suddenly lose close friends and collaborators," Cooper said. Calling Wagner "one of a kind" and "irreplaceable," Cooper added, "There was just a magic in the way we wrote together."
The musician, who co-wrote "Welcome to My Nightmare" and "Only Women Bleed" among others with Wagner, continued, "He was always able to find exactly the right chord to match perfectly with what I was doing. I think that we always think our friends will be around as long as we are, so to hear of Dick's passing comes as a sudden shock and an enormous loss for me, Rock N Roll and to his family."
Hunter remembered his late collaborator on Twitter. He wrote, "Dick and I were lucky enough to play on some pretty cool records. The stuff we did together back in the Seventies was truly magical."
In addition to Cooper and Reed, Wagner's guitar playing is also featured in the works by Aerosmith, KISS, Peter Gabriel and Air Supply. "Dick Wagner was the consummate gentleman axeman. He will be missed," Gene Simmons said in a statement to Billboard.