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Beatle George Harrison dies

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Stars and fans around the world are mourning the death of former Beatles guitarist George Harrison, who died aged 58 after a long fight against cancer.

Harrison died in Los Angeles at 1:30 p.m. (2130 GMT) on Thursday, spokesman Geoff Baker said, but further details were not available.

His former band-mate Sir Paul McCartney said: "I am devastated and very very sad. We knew he'd been ill for a long time.

"He was a lovely guy and a very brave man and had a wonderful sense of humour. He is really just my baby brother."

Fellow Beatle Ringo Starr paid tribute to Harrison, telling the UK Press Association: "We will miss George for his sense of love, his sense of music and his sense of laughter."

In-Depth: George Harrison - the quiet Beatle 
A life in music and movies: CNN's Michael Okwu reports (November 30)

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His family issued a statement saying: "He left this world as he lived in it, conscious of God, fearless of death, and at peace, surrounded by family and friends. He often said, 'Everything else can wait but the search for God cannot wait, and love one another."'

"He died with one thought in mind -- love one another," friend Gavin De Becker told The Associated Press, adding that Harrison's wife, Olivia Harrison, and son Dhani, 24, were with him when he died.

Harrison was known as the quiet one of the Fab Four, which conquered the world with 27 number one hits in the United States and Britain.

His credits with The Beatles include the songs, "Taxman," "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something," the latter described by Frank Sinatra as the greatest love song of all time.

The youngest member of the world's most famous pop group will always be remembered for his devotion to Oriental mysticism. It was he who persuaded the other Beatles to fly to India and sit at the feet of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

After The Beatles broke up in 1970 Harrison produced a few solo albums, and was the first of the four to top the UK singles charts as a solo artist with "My Sweet Lord." Later he helped form the group The Travelling Wilburys.

With Harrison's death, there now remain two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. John Lennon was shot to death by a deranged fan in 1980.

In 1998, when former smoker Harrison disclosed that he had been treated for throat cancer, he said: "It reminds you that anything can happen."

The following year, he survived an attack by an intruder at his mansion in Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire.

He was stabbed several times and suffered a punctured lung. In July 2001, he released a statement asking fans not to worry about reports that he was still battling cancer.

Fans began flocking to Liverpool -- birthplace of The Beatles -- on Friday. Flags in the city flew at half-staff.

Flowers and cards were piled up high around a statue of The Beatles above the Cavern Club, where the Beatles began their journey to superstardom.

The Beatles hold court at 1964 press conference: How do you find America? Turn left at Greenland
The Beatles hold court at 1964 press conference: How do you find America? Turn left at Greenland  

Fans also placed flowers and tributes at London's Abbey Road Studios, where the Beatles recorded many of their hits.

It wasn't immediately known if there would be a public funeral for Harrison. A private ceremony had already taken place, De Becker said.

Lennon's widow Yoko Ono paid tribute to Harrison, who she said brought magic to the lives of those who knew him.

"George has given so much to us in his lifetime and continues to do so even after his passing, with his music, his wit and his wisdom," she told The Press Association.

"His life was magical and we all felt we had shared a little bit of it by knowing him.

"Thank-you George, it was grand knowing you."


• George Harrison, the quiet Beatle
November 30, 2001
• 'Devastated' McCartney leads tributes
November 30, 2001

• George Harrison, All Things Must Pass
• George Harrison: Albums, Songs and Lyrics
• The Beatles

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