Magnum guitarist Tony Clarkin has died aged 77

Tony Clarkin
(Image credit: SPV/Steamhammer)

Tony Clarkin, guitarist, songwriter and co-founder of beloved British rock veterans Magnum, has died aged 77.

The news was confirmed in a statement written by Clarkin's daughter and shared on Magnum's official social media channels, which revealed that the guitarist died on Sunday following a short illness. 

"I know that Tony has touched so many people through his music in so many different ways," she wrote. "I don’t really have words to express what he meant to me right now as the grief is too fresh.

"As many of you know Tony had a great affinity with animals. It is the family’s intention to set up a charitable trust in his name to aid this cause, further details to follow. Please do not send flowers or cards, as he would have much preferred expressions of sympathy to go to charity in this way.

"It was a privilege to call him my Dad."

Clarkin and frontman Bob Catley co-founded Magnum in Clarkin's hometown of Birmingham in the early 1970s, initially playing clubs in the local music scene before solidifying the band's lineup with Wally Lowe on bass, Kex Gorin on drums and Richard Bailey on keyboard and flute, and releasing their debut full-length album, Kingdom Of Madness, in 1978.

Clarkin and Catley would remain at the centre of the band throughout Magnum's existence and numerous lineup changes, producing 23 studio albums across six separate decades, including 1982's breakthrough Chase The Dragon and two UK Top 10 releases, 1988's Wings Of Heaven and 1990's Vigilante

Just before Christmas, Magnum announced the cancellation of their upcoming European tour, revealing that Clarkin had been diagnosed with a rare spinal condition.  

"Over the past year or so I’ve been bothered by increasingly bad pains in my neck and head," he wrote. "For a long time the docs couldn’t work out why, but now they’ve found out and it’s gonna mean some changes."

Clarkin added, "This is not gonna be the end of Magnum, but the future might have to be a bit different, so please bear with us while we try and figure out what I can and can’t do moving forward."

Magnum's latest album, Here Comes The Rain, is due for release this coming Friday, January 12, via SPV/Steamhammer.

"We at SPV/Steamhammer are devastated about the passing of Tony," says Olly Hahn, head of the label. "We can't believe that he's gone. For 22 years the whole team and I had the pleasure to work with him, 22 years of fantastic music, trust and loyalty. We are forever grateful for this. Rest in peace, Tony!"

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.