Les Paul, the father of the electric guitar, has passed away at the age of 94 in White Plains, New York. His family was by his side at White Plains Hospital when he died from complications from pneumonia.
Paul had been ill for the past two months battling numerous infections according to his attorney Michael Braunstein.
Les Paul invented the solid-body electric guitar. His techniques were an inspiration for some of the world's greatest guitar players including Jimi Hendrix.
“He’s the man who started everything. He’s just a genius.” Eddie Van Halen shared the sentiment: “Without the things you’ve done, I wouldn’t be able to do half the things I do.”
Paul still had a weekly gig at age 93 at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City.
In 1941 Paul built his solid-body electric guitar overcoming earlier versions difficulty with feedback and distortion. In 1952 after years of honing the instrument he came out with the Les Paul model.
"He's become an idol and an icon to people in the rock world, as well as people in jazz and popular music," Terry Stewart, president of the Cleveland-based Rock Hall of Fame said in a tribute to Paul last year.
Les Paul was also known for his recording techniques like multi-track recording and overdubbing.
Gibson president Dave Berryman said: "As the 'father of the electric guitar', he was not only one of the world's greatest innovators but a legend who created, inspired and contributed to the success of musicians around the world."
He was also credited for inventing the eight-track tape recorder according to BBC.
Esquire quoted the music legend in 2008:
I gave up the guitar in 1965. Didn't want to see a guitar. I'd go out and get drunk. When I came out of the heart surgery, the doc said, "Promise me you'll work hard." I said, "I thought working hard is what got me here." He said, "No, working is what will keep you alive."
Les Paul is undoubtedly playing along other greats today in the great beyond.
Paul is survived by his three sons, a daughter and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.