'My dearest friend': Mick Fleetwood pays tribute to Fleetwood Mac co-founder Peter Green who has died aged 73

Peter Green died 'peacefully in his sleep' Credit: AP

Fleetwood Mac co-founder Peter Green has died aged 73, a statement released on behalf of his family said.

The statement from Swan Turton solicitors said: “It is with great sadness that the family of Peter Green announce his death this weekend, peacefully in his sleep. 

“A further statement will be provided in the coming days”.

Band co-founder Mick Fleetwood paid tribute to his "dearest friend”, saying they “trail blazed one hell of a musical road for so many to enjoy”.

He said: “Peter, I will miss you, but rest easy your music lives on. I thank you for asking me to be your drummer all those years ago. We did good, and trail blazed one hell of a musical road for so many to enjoy.

“God speed to you, my dearest friend……. Love Mick Fleetwood.”

Blues guitarist Green formed the legendary rock band in 1967 alongside drummer Fleetwood and guitarist Jeremy Spencer, with bassist John McVie also eventually joining.

Peter Green (second from left) co-founded Fleetwood Mac in 1967. Credit: PA

Green released three albums with the band and a series of well-loved tracks including Black Magic Woman and Oh Well in the late 60s.

He left Fleetwood Mac after a final performance in 1970 as he struggled with mental health difficulties and spiralling drug use, later sleeping rough.

He was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent time in hospitals undergoing electro-convulsive therapy during the mid-70s.

The band continued with a transformed line-up featuring a core group of Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie and Christine McVie.

This phase gave rise to their huge albums Fleetwood Mac and Rumours.

Green later formed the Peter Green Splinter Group in the 1990s, releasing nine albums with the band.

Peter Green and other members of Fleetwood Mac were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Credit: AP

Green, along with other members of Fleetwood Mac, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

Tributes poured in for the rock icon, with Slash, guitarist for rock band Guns N’ Roses sharing a series of pictures of the late musician, with the caption: “RIP.”

Paul Stanley, rhythm guitarist and co-lead vocalist for rock band Kiss, compared Green to the great figures from Britain’s blues music history, including Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page.

He tweeted: “RIP Peter Green. One of the absolute hierarchy of the original British Blues Greats. Clapton, Page, Beck and Green.”

Whitesnake founder David Coverdale described Green as a "Breathtaking Singer, Guitarist & Composer".

The news of Green's death comes just one day after Fleetwood Mac announced the forthcoming release of a CD box-set documenting the band's early years.

Earlier this year, artists including Fleetwood, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and guitarists Jonny Lang and Andy Fairweather Low performed at the London Palladium during a gig celebrating the early years of Fleetwood Mac and Green.