Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse officially quits band to care for his ill wife

"Steve will be greatly missed," the group wrote

Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse has officially quit the band to care for his wife, Janine, who has aggressive cancer.

Morse confirmed in March that he’d be temporarily stepping away from live duties. “At this point, there are so many possible complications and unknowns, that whatever time we have left in our lives, I simply must be there with her,” he said in a statement.

However, he claimed at the time that he was “not leaving the band” and told fans he hoped to “re-join the tour” at some point. Simon McBride replaced Morse in Deep Purple’s live line-up.

Today (July 23), Morse confirmed in a statement that he won’t be returning. “I’ve already played my last show with Purple back in Florida on the Rock Legends Cruise [in February],” he wrote.

“I wish to thank the listeners who so strongly supported live music and turned every show from a dress rehearsal to a thundering, exciting experience. I’ll miss everybody in the band and crew but being Janine’s helper and advocate has made a real difference at many key points.

“As Janine adjusts to her limitations, she is able to do many things on her own, so we will try to play some shorter nearby concert tours with friends to, hopefully, get both of us out of the house!”

Morse continued: “I know Simon has the gig nailed already, but I’m now handing over the keys to the vault which holds the secret of how Ritchie’s ‘Smoke on the Water’ intro was recorded. I guess you have to jiggle the key just right because I never got it open.”

Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan said: “Steve has a legacy with Deep Purple that can never be forgotten, and that smile will be missed.

“It would be wrong to comment on his personal circumstances, suffice to say he’s in a bad place right now but dealing with it bravely and as best he can; we all admire his devotion; he’s been a strong family man all his life.”

Morse joined Deep Purple back in 1994. He has written and recorded eight studio albums with the band including their latest and 21st full-length effort, last year’s ‘Turning To Crime’.

In a joint message, the group wrote: “Steve will be greatly missed by [the] band, crew, management, record label and all those that had the pleasure of working with him over the years.

“Steve has always been hugely grateful for the support and love of Deep Purple fans across the globe.”

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