After 28 years with the band, Steve Morse has announced his permanent departure from Deep Purple. The guitarist will instead focus on supporting his wife Janine as she battles stage 4 cancer and receives ongoing chemo treatments.
Morse took a temporary hiatus from the legendary group earlier this year, saying he would re-join once his wife received a clean bill of health. He was replaced by interim guitarist Simon McBride who is currently touring with the band throughout Europe.
“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,” Morse joked in his statement. “I guess you have to jiggle the key just right because I never got it open.”
Deep Purple posted a statement on social media this week sharing the news and paying tribute to Morse.
“Steve has a legacy with Deep Purple that can never be forgotten, and that smile will be missed,” said Ian Gillan.
“From the moment Steve joined us in Purple, it was obvious he could open up new musical possibilities for us,” said Ian Paice. “Like most great creative musicians, he has the ability to come up with musical ideas that no one else has thought of.”
Since joining Deep Purple in 1994, Steve Morse has written and recorded eight studio albums with the band and toured with them almost constantly.