Rick Parfitt has died.

The Status Quo guitarist passed away in hospital in Spain on Christmas Eve (24.12.16), at the age of 68, his manager and family confirmed in a statement.

They said: ''We are truly devastated to have to announce that Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt has passed away at lunchtime today.

''He died in hospital in Marbella, Spain, as a result of a severe infection, having been admitted to hospital on Thursday evening following complications to a shoulder injury incurred by a previous fall.

''This tragic news comes at a time when Rick was hugely looking forward to launching a solo career with an album and autobiography planned for 2017 following his departure from Status Quo's touring activities on medical advice.

''He will be sorely missed by his family, friends, fellow band members, management, crew and his dedicated legion of fans from throughout the world, gained through 50 years of monumental success with Status Quo.

''Rick is survived by his wife Lyndsay, their twins Tommy and Lily and Rick's adult children Rick Jnr and Harry.

''No further comment will be made at this time and Rick's family, and the band, ask for their privacy to be respected at this difficult time.''

Earlier this year, Rick - who suffered his third heart attack and spent several days in a coma after a gig in Turkey in June - admitted he was terrified of dropping dead on stage.

He said: ''I'm just aware of the nervousness I get before I go on stage. It does pump your heart slightly when you start to pace up and down the room, and you're about to go in front of thousands of people. Obviously it's going to have some effect on you.

''I do not want to tax myself in any way. I've been told medically not to. So whether it's a full gig or a cameo I'd still get fairly nervous and I do not want to get out on stage and drop dead in front of the fans. I do not want to do that.''

Rick said his latest heart attack has been a ''reality check'' and he subsequently quit drinking and smoking.