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Gary Moore, Thin Lizzy guitar legend, found dead

Bandmates of former Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore have paid tribute to a "great player and great guy" following his death on holiday in Spain.

The 58-year-old, originally from Belfast, was found dead in a hotel room on the Costa del Sol in the early hours of Sunday.

Thin Lizzy founding member Brian Downey said he was stunned by the news.

"I am in total shock," he said. "He will always be in my thoughts and prayers and I just can't believe he is gone."

After his time with the Irish rock band, Moore went on to forge a successful solo career and was still actively touring.

His death was confirmed with a poignant message on the star's official website. "It is with deep sorrow and regret, that we have to announce that Gary Moore passed away while on holiday in Spain," it stated. "Our thoughts are with his children, family and friends at this sad time."

Despite his solo ventures and numerous collaborations with other bands and artists, it is Moore's time with Thin Lizzy that he will be best remembered. He joined the band in 1973 after the sudden departure of guitarist Eric Bell but only played with them for four months. Four years later he returned and went on to play on the band's Black Rose album.

Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham said it had been a pleasure to share a stage with him. "Playing with Gary during the Black Rose era was a great experience, he was a great player and a great guy," he said. "I will miss him."

Meanwhile, Spain's Interior Ministry said police will await the outcome of a port-mortem examination on Moore before deciding if an investigation is needed.

A ministry spokeswoman said there were no signs of foul play.

A fretboard wizard admired around world

Guitar hero Gary Moore was held in high regard by music fans for his work with rock band Thin Lizzy and was also acclaimed for his solo efforts.

During his career, which started in the 1960s at the age of 16, the multi-talented east Belfast-born blues, rock and ballad guitarist gained admiration from his musical peers and collaborated with a number of leading artists, including the Beach Boys, Ozzy Osbourne, Andrew Lloyd Webber and George Harrison of The Beatles.

Harrison, Bob Dylan,Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne recruited Moore to play on the Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 album and in 1994 rock legends Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker formed BBM with him.

Hugely influenced by Jimi Hendrix and Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac, Moore first received international recognition when he recorded albums and toured Europe and America supporting acts such as Frank Zappa, the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead and Canned Heat.

The star shared the stage with blues and rock luminaries such as BB King, Albert King, Colosseum II and Dublin-based group Skid Row — not to be confused with the US glam band of the same name.

Last year, Gary Moore, Out In The Fields was 49 on the Belfast Telegraph’s list of Northern Ireland’s Top 50 music memories voted for by our readers and U105 listeners.

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