Fleetwood Mac guitarist Danny Kirwan dies

Michael Putland  Getty Images

Danny Kirwan, the British guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter who helped shape the bluesy sound of Fleetwood Mac, died Friday in London at age 68.

"Danny was a huge force in our early years", Fleetwood wrote.

The news was confirmed by Fleetwood Mac's founding drummer Mick Fleetwood, who released a statement on behalf of the band on his official Facebook page. The location and cause of death was not known as of early Saturday morning.

Danny was just 18 when he was asked to join the band, with his first single with them, Albatross, making it to number one in the US.

"Thank, Danny Kirwan. You will forever be missed!" Kirwan continued, stating that his legacy would live on in Fleetwood Mac's music.

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Mick Fleetwood paid tribute to the musician Friday, saying he received the "sad news" that Kirwan had died in London, England.

Best Classic Bands will have more on the life and death of Kirwan on Saturday.

By now Kirwan was growing apart from his bandmates, but his contribution to this period in the group's history as a guitarist, vocalist and writer is, like that of his fleeting colleague Bob Welch, hard to underestimate. He was sacked from the band during a 1972 tour promoting his fifth and final album with them over growing concerns about his alcoholism and subsequent behavior. He left the group in 1972 due to alcoholism and a deteriorating relationship with the rest of the band, but went on to release four solo albums in the second-half of the 1970s. "I get by and I suppose I am homeless, but then I've never really had a home since our early days on tour", he told The Independent in 1993. I couldn't handle it all mentally and I had to get out.

Kirwan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 as a member of Fleetwood Mac.

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