Bob Welch committed suicide because he believed he would never recover from recent spinal surgery.

The guitarist - who was a member of Fleetwood Mac from 1971 to 1974 - was found with a gunshot wound to his chest by wife Wendy yesterday (07.06.12) and family friend Bart Herbison has confirmed he did not want to burden his wife after a period of ill health.

He said: ''It had become apparent to Bob that he was not going to recover, that he was going to become an invalid.

''He had seen his father become an invalid and watched his mother care for him for many years. In the letter he left, he told (his wife) Wendy, 'I'm not going to do this to you.' ''

Bart - who works as the executive director of The National Songwriters Association - has known Bob and Wendy for 15 years and he claims the pair were as in love as they had ever been.

He added to The Tennessean newspaper : ''I've been privileged to meet a lot of famous musicians throughout the years.

''Your fame and notoriety will take you to a lot of places where you have to go by yourself, but not Bob. He never went anywhere without Wendy.''

Fleetwood Mac achieved most of their success after Bob left the group.

He went on to record solo material and formed The Rock group Paris.