Steve Morse Quits Deep Purple After His Wife’s Cancer Diagnosis

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Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse recently announced that he would leave Deep Purple permanently to spend more time with his wife, who was diagnosed with cancer.

Steve Morse started playing guitar with Deep Purple in 1994 when he joined to replace Ritchie Blackmore after Joe Satriani’s temporary tenure with the band. Morse ended up being their longest-serving guitarist with 28 years as a band member, and he played on their eight studio albums.

In March, Steve Morse announced his temporary departure from the band when Deep Purple had just returned to live performances. Noting that he wouldn’t leave the band, Morse said in a statement that he wanted to spend more time with his wife Janine as she was diagnosed with cancer.

After that, Deep Purple continued touring with Sweet Savage’s Simon McBride. Although Morse expressed his hopes that he would rejoin Purple’s current tour, he recently announced that his hiatus became a permanent break because he wants to be a full-time carer for his wife, who is battling cancer.

In a statement Deep Purple made on Facebook, Steve Morse stated that they are now learning how to deal with stage 4 aggressive cancer and chemo treatment. Saying he missed being at shows, Morse thanked fans for their support and said they would try playing shorter nearby concert tours in the coming days.

Here is what Steve Morse said about his departure in Deep Purple’s Facebook post:

“Last Autumn, I suddenly left the Purple writing session in Germany because my wife was having a real medical crisis. Almost a year later, we are learning to accept stage 4 aggressive cancer and chemo treatment for the rest of our life.

We both miss being at shows, but I simply couldn’t commit to long or far away tours since things can change quickly at home. I suggested lining up a substitute guitarist last Autumn, hoping we could see the miraculous cancer cure all of us have heard about. As time passed, I could see how things were heading, though, after 28 years of being in the band.”

He then continued:

“I’ve already played my last show with Purple in Florida on the Rock Legends Cruise. I wish to thank the listeners who so strongly supported live music and turned every performance from a dress rehearsal to a thundering, exciting experience. I’ll miss everybody in the band and crew but being Janine’s helper, and advocate has made a real difference at many key points.

As Janine adjusts to her limitations, she can do many things on her own, so we will try to play some shorter nearby concert tours with friends too, hopefully, get both of us out of the house! I know Simon has the gig nailed already, but I’m now handing over the keys to the vault, which holds the secret of how Ritchie’s ‘Smoke on the Water’ intro was recorded. I guess you have to jiggle the key just right because I never got it open.”

Besides Steve Morse, his bandmates also released statements expressing their feelings about the guitarist’s legacy. Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Roger Glover, and Don Airey put out their love, respect, and support for Morse.