George Tickner, the co-founder and original guitarist for Journey, has died at the age of 76.
News of Tickner’s death was confirmed by co-founding member Neal Schon on social media. No cause of death has been given at this time.
“Journey Junkies, I have some very sad news. George Tickner, Journey’s original rhythm guitarist and songwriting contributor on their first three albums, has passed away. He was 76 years old,” Schon, 69, wrote on Facebook Thursday.
“Godspeed, George… thank you for the music. We will be paying tribute to you on this page indefinitely.”
He continued, “Our condolences to his family and friends, and to all past and present band members. So heartbreaking.. I think we need to do a group hug, JJ’s.”
The Grammy-nominated rock band has sold over 100 million albums — and the stadium anthem “Don’t Stop Believin’” has surpassed 1 billion Spotify streams. Twenty-five of Journey’s songs — including “Open Arms,” “Who’s Crying Now” and “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” — charted on the Billboard Hot 100.
Tickner, Santana’s Schon and bassist Ross Valory joined forces in San Francisco to form the band together back in 1973.
At the start, Tickner was a major contributor and the original bass guitarist before eventually focusing on just the guitar.
Gregg Rolie and The Tubes’ Prairie Prince were also there for the forming of the band, with its first performance taking place on New Year’s Eve that year.
Prior to founding Journey, Tickner was a member of psychedelic rock band Frumious Bandersnatch with his pal and co-member Valory.
Journey headed out on the road on their US “Freedom Tour” at the start of this year, and were supported by Toto.
The band’s current lineup features Schon as lead guitarist, Jonathan Cain on the keyboard, Arnel Pineda as the lead vocalist, Jason Derlatka on the keyboard, Deen Castronovo on drums, and Todd Jensen as the bassist.
Tickner left Journey following the release of its eponymous debut album in 1975 to pursue a career in medicine.
He secured a full scholarship at Stanford Medical school, and was said to be writing music and performing as a hobby on the side.
In January 2005, he joined other members of the band to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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