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Cooper hails late friend Wagner

Alice Cooper has released a touching tribute to long-time collaborator Dick Wagner, who died yesterday at the age of 71.

The guitarist, songwriter and bandleader – best-known for writing classic track Only Women Bleed – had been fighting ill-health for several years, but his passing still came as a shock to many who knew him.

Cooper, who worked closely with Wagner on School’s Out and Welcome To My Nightmare, tells Billboard: “Even though we know it’s inevitable, we never expect to suddenly lose close friends and collaborators.

“Dick and I shared as many laughs as we did hit records. He was one of a kind – he’s irreplaceable. His brand of playing and writing is not seen any more, and there are very few people I enjoyed working with as much as I enjoyed working with Dick.”

Crediting Wagner with “a lot of my radio success,” Cooper continues: “Some of my biggest singles were ballads I wrote with Dick. There was just a magic in the way we wrote together. He was always able to find exactly the right chord to match perfectly with what I was doing.

“We always think our friends will be around as long as we are, so to hear of Dick’s passing comes as a sudden shock and an enormous loss for me, to rock’n’roll and to his family.”

Guitarist Steve Hunter, who worked alongside Wagner with both Cooper and Lou Reed, tweeted last night: “Dick and I were lucky enough to play on some pretty cool records.The stuff we did together back in the 70s was truly magical.”

Among other online tributes were:

**Matt Sorum: **Another guitar legend lost. Your great riffs will go on for ever.

**Paul Stanley: **He burned on Alice, Lou Reed and uncredited on Destroyer and some of our contemporaries. Sad day.

**Damon Johnson: **Absolutely gutted to hear of the passing of the great Dick Wagner. A legend songwriter and guitarist. Honoured to have met him.

**Steve Lukather: **God Bless. You will be missed my old friend.

**Carmine Appice: **Rest in peace, my good buddy. Sympathy to his family.

**Kip Winger: **RIP Dick Wagner, one of the great unsung heroes.

**Kevin Shirley: **Dick Wagner RIP. When we did Sloe Gin with Joe Bonamassa we tried to tap into your cool genius. Bummer!