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OPETH leader Mikael Åkerfeldt has paid tribute to original WHITESNAKE guitarist Bernie Marsden following his death on August 24. He was 72 years old.

On August 30, Mikael took to OPETH‘s social media to write: “It’s with great sadness we received the news of Bernie Marsden‘s passing. A superb and influential guitarist and a lovely bloke. We met a few times over the years, and we had the pleasure of dining (at length) with him during the NAMM music fair once. Fredrik (ÅkessonOPETH guitarist) and I were sat with him and some other artists at a private PRS guitars hosted dinner. PRS himself were sat opposite to me, and I had Fredrik to the left and Bernie to the right. Bernie was into some type of fruit punch, which I found amusing for some reason. He kept ordering them while the rest of us sat sipping some over-expensive wine I had ordered on Paul Reed Smith‘s tab. He didn’t mind (I think!). Of course, I bombarded Bernie with questions about his career. Especially his WHITESNAKE days. A band I have loved since childhood. He didn’t put himself on a pedestal at all but was instead very down to earth. A quite common thing for older rockers I must add, and it’s always highly appreciated.”

He continued: “Musically, Bernie did so much. Until recently, I didn’t even know he was briefly in UFO! He’s been a member of BABE RUTH and WILD TURKEY and he has played together with our very own Joakim Svalberg! As it turns out Bernie was also a avid record collector. A good trait for any human being.

“Once Bernie and I had gotten the niceties out of the way we dove straight into talking about rare pressings of BEATLES records and obscure progressive rock. I remember he was looking for a original UK copy of the first FREE LP, which I actually found and gave him. It was a good feeling giving something back to someone like him, who’s been such an inspiring figure in our own musical ventures.

Bernie‘s passing was confirmed by his family in a social media post on August 25. They wrote: “On behalf of his family, it is with deep sadness we announce the death of Bernie MarsdenBernie 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.”

WHITESNAKE singer David Coverdale shared a tribute to his former bandmate on social media.

“I’ve just woken up to the awful news that my old friend and former Snake Bernie Marsden has passed,” he wrote. “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.”

Marsden was one of the U.K.’s foremost rock and blues guitarists, famous for his time in professional bands since 1972 and a founding member of one of the biggest rock acts of all time, the mighty WHITESNAKE.

OPETH released their last album ‘In Cauda Venenum’ in both Swedish and English on their own label Moderbolaget Records in September 2019.  The album was distributed by Atomic Fire records.

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