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Dick Wagner, Former Alice Cooper Guitarist, Dead at 71

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Dick Wagner

(Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

By Philip Cosores

Dick Wagner, celebrated guitarist known for his work with Alice Cooper, KISS and Lou Reed, has died. He was 71.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Wagner succumbed to respiratory failure following two weeks in intensive care after undergoing a cardiac procedure.

Related: Alice Cooper Receives Life’s Greatest Honor, Inducted into White Castle’s Cravers Hall of Fame

Wagner’s website posted the following on his passing:

“It is with a heavy heart and great sorrow we have to let you know that Dick Wagner has left this world. Dick had a huge heart, which is perhaps why it gave him so much trouble, it was simply too full of love, of music and life. His creativity and passion will live on forever in the legacy he has left for us, in his music and his words. We have so much of him to celebrate. Dick was prolific not only in the tangible realm of what we can see and hear but in the boundless energy of his spirit, which will never die. He was a fighter, but in the end his body couldn’t keep up with his spirit, and so he lays to rest. Dick said in 2013, ‘Love is in the air. Breathe deep.’ Take Dick’s advice into your own hearts, and notice all of the beauty in the world, even when it seems cruel and unfair.”

Ultimate Classic Rock reminds that this was the last of a series of health ailments for the legend, which included a massive heart attack in 2007, and a major stroke that put him in a coma for weeks. He was able to rebound from these, and even play guitar again in his later years.

Wagner was a co-writer on Alice Cooper classics “Welcome to my Nightmare” and “Only Women Bleed” and had shared stages and recording studios with the likes of Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel and Hall & Oates. He had even contributed limited guitar to Cooper’s 2011 sequel to Welcome to My Nightmare, titled Welcome 2 My Nightmare.

With Reed, Wagner recorded guitar parts on Berlin and Metal Machine Music.

A book chronicling his life, Not Only Women Bleed, was released in 2012.

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