The Beatles' friend Neil Aspinall dies

The band's former manager was 65

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The Beatles' longtime friend and former manager Neil Aspinall died in New York City at the age of 65, the surviving band members said in a statement today (March 24).

Aspinall, who once served as The Beatles' road manager and later as chief executive of the band's Apple Corps Ltd, passed away at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he'd reportedly been receiving treatment for cancer.

"All his friends and loved ones will greatly miss him, but will always retain the fondest memories of a great man," Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr said in a statement issued with Apple Corps, reports the Associated Press.

Aspinall was a childhood friend of McCartney and George Harrison in Liverpool, where they attended school together.

After becoming The Beatles' first road manager and driving them to gigs in vans, he became the head of Apple Corps, where he was executive producer of the highly successful 'Beatles Anthology' as well as 'Beatles 1' albums.

He also reportedly initiated the first of three lawsuits on behalf of Apple Corps against Apple Inc for trademark infringement.

One of Aspinall's final projects was overseeing The Beatles' back catalogue for an anticipated release later this year.

Aspinall stepped down as head of the company last year, as previously reported.

--By our Los Angeles staff.
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