Dick Wagner, the guitarist, songwriter and bandleader who worked with Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Kiss and Aerosmith, among others, died Wednesday (July 30) at the age of 71 in Phoenix.
Wagner, who was also part of the groups The Frost and Ursa Major, had been hospitalized after contracting a lung infection following heart surgery in early July. Though he had posted a Facebook message on July 21 saying "I can't wait to play for you all again one day soon" -- signed "Dick'N THE ICU" -- Wagner was in a medically induced coma at the time of his death from respiratory failure.
"Dick Wagner was the consummate gentleman axeman. (He) will be missed," Kiss' Gene Simmons said in a statement on Wednesday, noting that Wagner played the "blistering" guitar solo on the Destroyer track "Sweet Pain." Kiss frontman Paul Stanley had this to say: "Dick was a stellar player and his work with Steve Hunter on Lou Reed's Rock&Roll Animal is legendary. He also did great work with Alice Cooper and uncredited ghosting on Destroyer and albums by some of our contemporaries. A huge talent with a huge tone and huge heart. A great unsung hero."