JEFF Beck, one of the most influential rock guitarists of all time, has died at the age of 78.
The legendary musician died suddenly after contracting bacterial meningitis his family has revealed.
Meningitis is a disease caused by inflammation of the lining around your brain and spinal cord.
If it is not treated quickly, the condition can cause life-threatening septicaemia (blood poisoning) and result in permanent damage to the brain or nerves.
His death was announced in a statement which was shared from his official Twitter account.
It read: “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. His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”
The chief executive of charity Meningitis Now, Dr Tom Nutt, said the shock news was a reminder about the “devastating” disease and its ability to affect any age group.
“We would encourage everyone to ensure that they are aware of the signs and symptoms of meningitis and to have the confidence to act fast and seek medical help should they believe they may be becoming ill,” he said.
What are the symptoms of meningitis?
The symptoms of meningitis develop suddenly and include:
- A high fever over 37.5 degrees – the average human temperature
- being sick
- a headache
- a blotchy rash that doesn’t fade when a glass is rolled over it
- stiffness, especially in the neck
- sensitivity to bright lights
- drowsiness, irritability or lack of energy
- cold hands and feet
The classic rash associated with meningitis usually looks like small, red pinpricks at first.
But it will spread over the body and turn into red or purple blotches.
If you press the side of a glass firmly against the skin where the rash is and it does not fade, it is a sign of blood poisoning and you should get medical help immediately.
The Meningitis Research Foundation has warned the symptoms can easily be mistaken for a hangover.
The charity urged people to look out for the symptoms in family and friends during winter, when the illness is more prevalent.
On average there are three times as many cases of the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in January compared with September.
In the last couple of years there has been a rise in cases of a particularly deadly type among teenagers and young adults – the MenW ST-11 strain.
The fatality rate has been 12 per cent compared to around 5 per cent for other strains of meningitis.
In babies, the symptoms can be slightly different.
- refuse to eat
- be agitated and not want to be picked up
- have a bulging soft spot in their head
- be floppy and unresponsive
- have an unusual, high-pitched cry
- have a stiff body
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