JOHN ENTWISTLE 1944-2002

John Entwistle found dead on eve of the legendary rockers' US tour...

JOHN ENTWISTLE, bassist with legendary rockers THE WHO, has died in LAS VEGAS at the age of 57.

The band were due to begin a three-month tour today (June 28) kicking off with a gig at the city’s Hard Rock Hotel And Casino’s concert venue The Joint. The date has been cancelled and the rest of the tour is now in doubt.

The bassist, affectionately known as The Ox because of his large build, died in bed at the Hard Rock Hotel. An investigation is underway into the cause of death though it’s believed he suffered a heart attack.

There are now just two surviving original members of the legendary Sixties group, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend. Drummer Keith Moon died of a drug overdose in 1978.

Famed for being the quietest member of a group famed for being Britain’s loudest at the peak of their career, Entwistle was born in Chiswick, West London in October 1944, and was a school pal of Townsend’s. The pair eventually got together with Moon and Daltrey and went on to become one of the most famous British rock bands in history. Hits included ‘My Generation’, ‘Substitute’ as well as the concept albums ‘Quadrophenia’ and rock opera ‘Tommy’, both of which went on to become films.

Apart from playing bass, Entwistle sang backing vocals and also wrote songs such as ‘Boris The Spider’. He also released a half-dozen solo albums.

Tributes have already started to flood in with The Who’s manager Bill Curbishly speaking of the rest of the band’s devastation.

He said: “The entire Who family is terribly saddened by John’s passing. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends and the millions of Who fans the world over.”

Entwistle’s band mates are said to be too upset to talk about his death.

Ray Manzarek, keyboard player for The Doors, described him as “one of the great, great rock ‘n’ roll bassists of all time. A real genius”.

Rocker Sammy Hagar added: “He just was the most humble rock star I have ever met, besides having the best hands of any bass player in the history of rock and roll.”

Steve Luongo, who plays drums in The John Entwistle Band, said the guitar legend was on medication for a heart condition.

“As a musician, he did for the bass guitar what Jimi Hendrix did for the guitar,” he added.

The fate of the rest of the planned Who tour remains undecided.