Peter Green, Founding Member of Fleetwood Mac, Dies at 73

Peter Green co-founded Fleetwood Mac with drummer Mick Fleetwood in 1967

Peter Green
Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images

Guitarist Peter Green, the co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, has died. He was 73.

A law firm representing Green’s family, Swan Turton, confirmed the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s death in a statement on Saturday. “It is with great sadness that the family of Peter Green announces his death this weekend, peacefully in his sleep. A further statement will be provided in the coming days,” the statement said, according to Deadline.

After leaving the Bluesbreakers, Green co-founded Fleetwood Mac with drummer Mick Fleetwood in London in 1967. Bass guitarist John McVie also joined the band that year.

In a 2017 interview with The Associated Press, Fleetwood shared that Green was an integral part of the band, despite his leaving in 1971. The group was even initially called Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac.

“Peter was asked why did he call the band Fleetwood Mac. He said, ‘Well, you know I thought maybe I’d move on at some point and I wanted Mick and John (McVie) to have a band.’ End of story, explaining how generous he was,” Fleetwood said.

Peter Green
From left to right: Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and John McVie. Keystone Features/Getty Images

While Green was in the band, they produced three albums and several hits, including “Black Magic Woman” and “Oh Well.” Green left Fleetwood Mac due in part to his mental health struggles. He was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent some time in the hospital in the mid-1970s, Entertainment Weekly reported.

In 1998, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside McVie and Fleetwood, as well as Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer, who joined Fleetwood Mac after Green’s departure.

Stevie Nicks paid tribute to Green after news of his death. "I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Peter Green. My biggest regret is that I never got to share the stage with him. I always hoped in my heart of hearts that that would happen," Nicks said in a statement, obtained by PEOPLE.

"When I first listened to all the Fleetwood Mac records, I was very taken with his guitar playing. It was one of the reasons I was excited to join the band. His legacy will live on forever in the history books of Rock n Roll. It was in the beginning, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac and I thank you, Peter Green, for that. You changed our lives," Nicks said.

The Whitesnake's Bernie Marsden shared a tribute to Green on Twitter, posting a photo taken of the pair of them this past February. Marsden called Green his "hero."

“I can’t quite express my feelings this afternoon after learning of Peter’s death. I’m just thinking of the times we spent together in the last couple of years, hanging out with him at his home was very special,” he wrote. “A memory I’ll cherish. He made me laugh, cry, wonder, and never failed to make me pinch myself when we were alone one to one.”

Marsden continued, “As a musician I can only be one of the millions he touched, his talent for guitar playing, vocals and harmonica would have been more than most people could have possibly wished for, and then you add those wonderful songs, original, vibrant, atmospheric, outright psychedelic and so much fun, to listen to and witness. Those early days of Fleetwood Mac will stay in my mind forever. Many more words will be written and spoken about Peter, but I will - very simply - just miss him.”

Green married Jane Samuels in 1978, and they divorced the following year. The couple shared daughter Rosebud, and Green was also a father to son Liam Firlej.

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