Hilton Valentine, guitarist for The Animals, dead at 77

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Hilton Valentine, guitarist and founding member of The Animals, has died. He was 77.

The English musician’s death was announced by the Abkco Music & Records company on Friday.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to @HiltonValentine’s family and friends on his passing this morning, at the age of 77. A founding member and original guitarist of The Animals, Valentine was a pioneering guitar player influencing the sound of rock and roll for decades to come,” the statement on Twitter reads.

The announcement showed a photo of the artist kneeling in front of a NewcastleGateshead Local Heroes plaque in the United Kingdom.

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A cause of death has not been provided.

Valentine was born in Northbumberland, England in 1943. He became a member of The Animals in 1962 along with frontman Eric Burdon.

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The rhythm blues and rock band is known for the hits “The House of the Rising Sun,” a Billboard chart-topper, and “We Gotta Get Out of This Place.” Valentine was one of its founding members, but bandmates did rotate over the years.

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Hilton Valentine of the Animals has died at the age of 77. A cause of death is unknown.
(Getty Images)

Burdon paid tribute to Valentine on Friday, with a throwback photo of the pair rocking out on stage.

“The opening opus of Rising Sun will never sound the same!… You didn’t just play it, you lived it! Heartbroken by the sudden news of Hilton’s passing. We had great times together, Geordie lad. From the North Shields to the entire world…Rock In Peace,” Burdon captioned the black-and-white pic.

English pop group The Animals (John Steel, Hilton Valentine, Eric Burdon, Chas Chandler and Alan Price) re-unite for a 74 date World tour on September 01,1983 in Dallas, United States.
(Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

The band’s final album came in 1983, titled “Ark.” The group was honored with an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 11 years later, in 1994.

The rocker is survived by his wife, Germaine.

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