London (CNN)Grammy Award-winning audio engineer Geoff Emerick, who worked on several of the Beatles' most important albums, died on Tuesday from a heart attack. He was 72 years old.
Beatles' sound engineer Geoff Emerick dies
His manager William Zabaleta confirmed the news, saying Emerick fell ill when Zabaleta was on the phone to him.
"Today, at around 2 o'clock, I was making my way back from Arizona to Los Angeles to go pick up Geoff so we could transport some gold records and platinum plaques to our show in Tucson," Zabaleta said in a statement online.
"While on the phone with Geoff Emerick, he had complications, dropped the phone. At that point I called 911, but by the time they got there it was too late," he said. "So Geoff suffered from heart problems for a long time. He had a pacemaker and, you know, when it's your time, it's your time. We lost a legend and a best friend to me and a mentor."
Emerick is credited as being an innovator, willing to do anything to help his demanding clients craft their sound. When John Lennon said he wanted to sound like the "Dalai Lama singing on a mountain" for the 1966 song "Tomorrow Never Knows," Emerick and other sound engineers fed his voice through rotating speakers to distort it. "I remember the surprise on our faces when the voice came out of the speaker. It was just one of sheer amazement," Emerick said, according to Beatles chronicler Mark Lewisohn.
Emerick joined EMI at the age of 15 in 1962, sitting in on the Beatles' first session for the record label during his first week of work.
"It was the right place at the right time," Emerick told CNN in a 2006 interview about his time with the Beatles. "It could have happened to anybody," he said.
"At the time of doing those albums we never realized it was going to develop into what it developed into."
He became the right-hand man to late producer George Martin, working the board through the '60s for seminal Beatles' al