Legendary British guitarist Jeff Beck, known for his virtuosic playing and his role in shaping the sound of rock ‘n’ roll, died on Tuesday. He was 78.

“On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing. After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday,” a representative said in a statement posted to social media. “His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”

Born in Surrey, England, Beck began his career in the 1960s as a member of the seminal rock band the Yardbirds, replacing Eric Clapton as lead guitarist alongside Jimmy Page. He quickly gained a reputation as one of the most innovative and exciting guitarists of his generation and went on to play with a number of influential bands and musicians, including Rod Stewart—who started out fronting his solo band, The Jeff Beck Group—and Beck, Bogert & Appice. He also famously declined an invitation to replace Brian Jones in the Rolling Stones.

The guitarist recently completed a tour in support of his collaborative album with Johnny Depp, 18, and was featured on two tracks from Ozzy Osbourne’s 2022 album Patient Number 9.

Beck helped shape the sound of rock ‘n’ roll guitar with his use of distortion, feedback effects, and the whammy bar. Throughout his career, he experimented with different styles and techniques, blending elements of rock, blues, jazz, and even classical and electronic music to create a sound that was all his own. His ability to push the boundaries of what was possible on the guitar earned him widespread acclaim, and he was often cited as an influence by other guitarists both past and present.

Beck’s discography includes numerous albums, some of which are widely considered classics of the genre, such as Truth, Blow By Blow, Wired, and Emotion & Commotion. He was the recipient of seven Grammy Awards for instrumental performances and an eighth for his work on Herbie Hancock’s The Imagine Project. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, first as a member of the Yardbirds in 1992 and again as a solo artist in 2009.

Beck was not only known for his impressive guitar skills, but also for his humble character and his dedication to the music.