Guitarist RITCHIE BLACKMORE has paid tribute to Deep Purple's former manager Tony Edwards, who has died at the age of 78.
Edwards looked after the band from 1967 and was instrumental in their early success, even coming up with the group's name.
He passed away earlier this month (Nov10) and Blackmore - who left the Deep Purple line-up in 1975 before returning when the band reformed in 1984 - has paid tribute to the group's former manager.
In a post on his official site, he writes, "With deepest respect - and with great sorrow - we honour Tony Edwards.
"Tony was the man behind the scenes for Deep Purple. He was instrumental to the existence and sustenance of the band and its music from its inception to present day. Tony's insight and intuitiveness were unparallelled in the music business. He will be thought of often and missed greatly.
"Without Tony Edwards there would be no Deep Purple."