At the age of 78, Jeff Beck, who was widely considered to be one of the best rock guitarists of all time, passed away.

The British musician first gained widespread recognition when performing with the Yardbirds, where he filled in for Eric Clapton. Later, he collaborated with Rod Stewart to develop the Jeff Beck Group.

In the 1960s, his tone, presence, and most importantly volume helped to reinvent guitar music, and he impacted musical styles as diverse as jazz-rock, heavy metal, and even punk.

 Beck’s death was announced on his official Twitter profile.

“On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing,”the statement said.

“After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday. His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”

In 2009, describing his style, Beck said: “I play the way I do because it allows me to come up with the sickest sounds possible.”

“That’s the point now, isn’t it? I don’t care about the rules.

“In fact, if I don’t break the rules at least 10 times in every song, then I’m not doing my job properly.”

Geoffrey Arnold Beck was born in Wallington, which is located in south London. The musician had an early passion for rock and roll music, and he made his first guitar when he was a teenager.

“The guy next door said, ‘I’ll build you a solid body guitar for five pounds’,” he told Rock Cellar Magazine. “Five pounds, which to me was 500 back then [so] I went ahead and did it [myself].

“The first one I built was in 1956, because Elvis was out, and everything that you heard about pop music was guitar. And then I got fascinated. I’m sure the same goes for lots of people.” He went on to release his first solo song, titled “Hi Ho Silver Lining”. It was recorded in only three hours, and became a top 20 success in the UK, peaking in 1967 and 1972.