Status Quo's Rick Parfitt entertained audiences and was the embodiment of rock and roll

Status Quo's veteran guitarist Rick Parfitt, who has died aged 68, entertained audiences over six decades and was the very embodiment of the rock and roll lifestyle.

Parfitt was a master on the guitar, and his talent both as a musician and a songwriter earned him fans in Britain and around the world.

In 2010, Parfitt received an OBE for services to music along with his Status Quo band mate Francis Rossi.

He was credited with co-writing a number of Status Quo tracks including Whatever You Want, Again And Again and Break The Rules.

Parfitt joined the band in 1967 after it was formed by Rossi with Alan Lancaster. The following year, Status Quo earned their first hit with Pictures Of Matchstick Men.

Rick Parfitt (L) and Francis Rossi perform at the Glastonbury Festival in 2009. Credit: Reuters

But Parfitt, a self-confessed former drug addict, battled a litany of health complaints over the years.

He admitted to drinking a bottle of wine and smoking 30 cigarettes a day at one time, and spending £1,000 a week on cocaine.

Earlier this year, Parfitt reportedly "died" for several minutes after a heart attack - an event that affected him mentally.

Born Richard John Parfitt in Woking, Surrey on October 12 1948, the musician was learning to play the guitar by the age of 11.

At the age of 15, he was earning a small weekly wage while performing at a holiday camp on Hayling Island.

Parfitt later spoke of how most of his money would be given to his father, an "insurance man who was a drinker and a gambler".

Rick Parfitt battled drink and drugs during his time in the spotlight. Credit: PA Wire

In 1965 Parfitt met Rossi, and success with Status Quo would soon ensue, surprising his father who did not believe Parfitt would make it in show business.

Parfitt's personal life was tumultuous. He married his first wife Marietta Boeker in 1973 and they had two children. However, their marriage broke down when their two-year-old daughter Heidi drowned in a pool.

He later married his childhood sweetheart Patty Beedon, with whom he has a son, but the marriage ended when he had an affair with his first wife.

Parfitt married Lyndsey Whitburn in 2006 and they welcomed their twins in 2008, making him a new father at the age of 60.

Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi enjoyed huge success as part of Status Quo after meeting in 1965. Credit: Reuters

In 1997, he underwent a quadruple heart bypass; in 2005 he had a throat cancer scare; and in 2011, he had a heart attack.

Earlier this year, Parfitt suffered another heart attack which later led to him announcing he would not return to perform with Status Quo.

In October, Parfitt told Classic Rock of the band's decision to only play acoustic performances going forward: "I don't think I really want to, in my heart I'm a rocker. If I'm going to make music it's got to rock."