ONE of the greatest lead guitarists the world has ever known, Phil Emmanuel, has died - aged 65.
The Muswellbrook-born musician passed away in Parkes late on Thursday night after a sudden asthma attack.
He was staying with his brother Darcy at the time.
Emmanuel became a household name not just in his Upper Hunter home town, but around the world, when he joined New Zealand rock band Dragon in the 1970s.
“On behalf of the family, it is with great sadness that I announce the passing of our much loved brother, Philip Ernest Emmanuel,” Darcy said.
He didn't chase the limelight, it chased him - but he got away,Darcy Emmanuel
During his visit, Phil had shows planned for the Cootamundra Hotel on Friday night, a private function for friend Maureen Farr’s 60th birthday at the Railway Bowling Club, and a two-hour concert at the Star Hotel on Sunday afternoon.
“Phil wanted to do a show at my favourite watering hole,” Darcy said.
“He wanted do it for those who were unable to make it to the Guitars of the Era concert he did at the Little Theatre during the afternoon on the Friday of this year’s Elvis Festival.
“He had heard that a few people couldn’t make it because they were working.”
Darcy said he has been in contact with his brothers Chris and Tommy, who is in London touring at the moment, and sister Veronica better known as Skeeta.
“We are all devastated,” Darcy said.
“This comes on top of the loss of our sister Virginia Grace on April 14, aged 69.
“Philip and Virginia were virtually joined at the hip and I don't think either one would have been able to live without the other.”
Phil and his brother Tommy playing together the Emmanuel Brothers graced stages all over the world with names such as Chet Atkins, Duanne Eddy, America, Hank B Marvin, John Farnham, Jimmy Barnes, INXS, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson.
Darcy said Phil wasn’t one for a lot of attention.
“He didn't chase the limelight, it chased him - but he got away,” Darcy said.
“I had a plaque made for him once, it read ‘the greatest lead guitarist the world has never seen’.
“I think he is probably most famous for playing the last post on guitar.
“People would just shake their heads when they heard it, I've seen veterans cry their eyes out.
“Phil would only play it at RSLs, not for anyone else, he did do it once for me though because I loved it so much.”
Darcy wishes to thank his good friends John Mason and Maureen Farr who were with him when Phil collapsed.
“I am so glad that I was not alone at the time,” Darcy said.
“John helped perform CPR while Maureen waited at the gate for the ambulance.”
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the paramedics who went over and above and did such an amazing job.”
Phil is survived by his wife Amanda and his children Jessie Maree, Jamie Lee, Georgia Dee and Marshall Travis.
The Emmanuel family ask for privacy at this difficult time.