Terry O’Neill, the photographer who worked closely with The Beatles and the Rolling Stones to document the high points of 1960s culture, has died aged 81.
O’Neill had previously been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Last month he received a CBE for services to photography, presented to him at Buckingham Palace by Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge.
After confirming the news, a spokeswoman for Iconic Images said: “It is with a heavy heart that Iconic Images announces the passing of Terence ‘Terry’ O’Neill, CBE.
“Terry was a class act, quick-witted and filled with charm. Anyone who was lucky enough to know or work with him can attest to his generosity and modesty.
“As one of the most iconic photographers of the last 60 years, his legendary pictures will forever remain imprinted in our memories as well as in our hearts and minds.”
O’Neill photographed an extraordinary array of talent from the world of music, art and cinema, including Liza Minelli, Audrey Hepburn, Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Amy Winehouse and Elton John. He also worked with the Royal Family, including a photoshoot with the Queen.
After being asked to photograph a “little band” called The Beatles at Abbey Road, he found work with the Rolling Stones. “I could go out and create my own world,” he said. “There was no other time like it.”
O’Neill is survived by his three children and wife Laraine Ashton.
David Bowie once described O’Neill as his “creative muse”, calling the photographer “charming and warm” in a recent interview with The Guardian. “He could look alien-like or female-like,” the singer said in the feature.
“It was always so exciting as everything he did was so unpredictable.”