NEIL ASPINALL, the man widely acknowledged as the ‘Fifth Beatle’, has died. He was 66.
Aspinall had reportedly been receiving treatment for lung cancer at Manhattan’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York before his spokesperson announced his death on Monday (24Mar08).
The 65-year-old had been fighting for his life at the weekend (begs21Mar08) when he received a visit from longtime pal and school friend Sir Paul McCartney, according to reports.
Aspinall is fondly referred to as the fifth member of the Fab Four because of his close ties to bandmembers McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.
He served as the former road manager and business adviser for the Fab Four for over 40 years, and even sang backing vocals for the group’s hit Yellow Submarine.
He continued to look after the Beatles’ interests as head of their record label Apple Corps until he stepped down from the post in 2007 to start up his own production company.
In a joint statement, McCartney, Starr and Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono say, “Neil’s trusting stewardship and guidance has left a far-reaching legacy.”
Aspinall is survived by his wife of 39 years, Suzy – the daughter of film producer Bud Ornstein – and a son, Vincent ‘Roag’ Best, from his relationship with Mona Best, mother of original Beatles drummer Pete Best.