Steve Morse officially quits Deep Purple to care for his ailing wife

“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.”

Deep Purple Steve Morse

Image: Katja Ogrin / Alamy

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Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse has announced his official departure from the band to take care of his wife, Janine, who is battling cancer.

The move — which brings an end to Morse’s 28-year stint with the band — comes four months after the guitarist announced that he would be taking a hiatus from the band until his wife’s condition improves. Simon McBride has been filling in as live guitarist since then.

“Last Autumn, I suddenly left the Purple writing session in Germany because my wife was having a real medical crisis,” Morse said in a statement posted to the band’s Facebook page. “Almost a year later, we are learning to accept stage 4 aggressive cancer and chemo treatment for the rest of her life.”

“We both miss being at shows, but I simply couldn’t commit to long, or far away tours, since things can change quickly at home. I suggested lining up a substitute guitarist last Autumn, hoping we could see the miraculous cancer cure all of us have heard about. As time went by, I could see the way things were heading though, after 28 years of being in the band.”

“I’ve already played my last show with Purple back in Florida on the Rock Legends Cruise,” he wrote.

Morse also thanked fans “who so strongly supported live music and turned every show from a dress rehearsal to a thundering, exciting experience”, and said that he will miss the band crew.

“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.”

Singer Ian Gillan said in a tribute to the guitarist, “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.”

“The best way I can describe this is by using Steve’s own words; when I sent him a love letter a few weeks ago, he replied that it was weird being at home whilst we guys were out there, but ‘reality intervenes’… and that’s what has happened. I can only put out love and respect, and positive vibes at the memories of good times together.”

Read the full statement below:

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