What IS bacterial meningitis? Everything you need to know about bug after death ... trends now
Legendary British guitarist Jeff Beck died 'peacefully' last night after contracting bacterial meningitis, it was revealed yesterday.
The 78-year-old, who just weeks ago finished touring the US and Europe with actor Johnny Depp, was so revered that his fingers and thumbs were famously insured for £7million.
A representative said that Beck - an eight-time Grammy winner - had been ill over the Christmas period and passed away at a hospital close to his home in Surrey, after suddenly contracting the infection.
Bacterial meningitis, which requires urgent hospital treatment, affects the membranes that affect the spinal cord and brain
Jeff Beck passed away peacefully last night at the age of 78. Pictured above, Beck performing at a Crystal Palace garden party event in London in 1972
His sudden death comes just weeks after the former Yardbirds star finished a transatlantic tour with Johnny Depp as they promoted their debut album '18'
British rockers including Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger led tributes overnight.
Bacterial meningitis, which requires urgent hospital treatment, affects the membranes that affect the spinal cord and brain.
The World Health Organization estimates that up to 1 in every 10 cases of bacterial meningitis is fatal.
Experts say one of the reasons behind its lethality is that it is hard to spot early. Meningitis symptoms strike suddenly and worsen very quickly.
These can include headaches, a fever, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting and drowsiness.
Photophobia - sensitivity to light - and developing a skin rash are other tell-tale signs of infection.
Caused by bacteria that enters the bloodstream, when the membranes become infected, they swell and press on the spinal cord or brain.
This can cause life-threatening problems.
But if treated promptly in hospital, bacterial meningitis is less likely to become lethal.
It usually needs to be treated in hospital for at least a week, through antibiotics and fluids given directly into a vein and oxygen through a face mask.
According to experts, at least 1.2million cases of bacterial meningitis are estimated to occur every year around the world.
While it can affect anyone of any age, it is more common in babies and young children as their immune system is not yet fully developed.
Teenagers and young people are also at increased risk, particularly during their first year at university.
Infection can be spread through coughing, sneezing and kissing, as it is usually caught through people who carry the bacteria in their throat or nose, but are not actually ill