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It’s with a heavy heart that we report the death of Australian guitar legend Phil Emmanuel, older brother to fellow legend Tommy Emmanuel.
He was 65.
Mr. Emmanuel was in Parkes, New South Wales visiting his brother Darcy when he was struck by a sudden, fatal asthma attack last night. Darcy confirmed his brother’s death in a short statement to Fairfax Media:
“On behalf of the family, it is with great sadness that I announce the passing of our much loved brother, Philip Ernest Emmanuel. We are all devastated.”
This isn’t the first tragedy the Emmanuel family has suffered this year, as mentioned by Darcy in a later part of his statement; their sister Virginia Grace, to whom Phil was especially close, died at the age of 69 on April 14th.
“This comes on top of the loss of our sister Virginia Grace on April 14, aged 69. Philip and Virginia were virtually joined at the hip and I don’t think either one would have been able to live without the other.”
Born July 6, 1952, Phil Emmanuel enjoyed a lengthy solo career as well as his career as one half of the Emmanuel Brothers, playing alongside younger brother Tommy and sharing the stage with a who’s who list of music greats.
From Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton to America and INXS, the man who’s been described as “Australia’s greatest electric guitar player” was a prized, welcome addition to any live stage performance.
At the time of his death, Phil had several gigs lined up around New South Wales. Tonight he was slated to perform at the Cootamundra Hotel, followed by a private function for friend Maureen Farr’s 60th birthday at the Railway Bowling Club, and a two hour concert at the Star Hotel on Sunday afternoon.
In addition to a glowing musical legacy, Phil Emmanuel is survived by his wife Amanda and his children Jessie Maree, Jamie Lee, Georgia Dee and Marshall Travis.