Elvis Presley's long-time guitarist John Wilkinson has died. He was 67.

He passed away on Friday (11Jan13) at his home in Springfield, Missouri after a battle with cancer, according to the Associated Press.

Wilkinson first met The King when he sneaked into the rock star's dressing room at the age of 10 and was later asked to join Presley's band after making a name for himself as a rhythm guitarist.

He performed with Presley at more than 1,200 shows before the superstar's death in 1977.

Family spokesman Gary Ellison says, "John loved to tell that story (of his first meeting with Presley)... John considered Elvis more as a friend than as a boss."

A statement from the family reads, "It didn’t matter if he was meeting adoring fans, joking with Chuck Berry about keeping his B-string in tune, or if he was talking to a neighbour about her dog, people were people to him. Folks were folks. John would look you square in the eye and accept you, just as you were. There was nothing phoney about him.”