Neil Aspinall, the man who ran Apple Records for the Beatles and long-time friend of the band, has died at the age of 66.

A statement released by surviving band members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr today said that Aspinall had died at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

The statement released by band, Apple Cops and the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison said: "All his friends and loved ones will greatly miss him, but will always retain the fondest memories of a great man.

"As a loyal friend, confidant and chief executive, Neil's trusting stewardship and guidance has left a far-reaching legacy for generations to come."

Aspinall was chief executive of Apple Corps from 1970 to 2007.

He was also the Beatles' first road manager and regularly drove them to their early gigs in his van.

During this time, and despite having no previous musical training, he managed to become involved in a number of famous Beatles' tracks.

He sang the chorus on Yellow Submarine and played backing instruments on Magical Mystery Tour, Within You Without You and Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!

24/03/2008 17:09:52