It has been confirmed that Paul ‘Tonka’ Chapman, the former UFO guitarist, died at the age of 66 yesterday. The musician’s family confirmed the sad news on his Facebook page. The statement read: “It is with a heavy heart writing this, today is my dad’s 66th birthday. He passed away earlier this afternoon. “He was …
It has been confirmed that Paul ‘Tonka’ Chapman, the former UFO guitarist, died at the age of 66 yesterday. The musician’s family confirmed the sad news on his Facebook page.
The statement read: “It is with a heavy heart writing this, today is my dad’s 66th birthday. He passed away earlier this afternoon.
“He was a brilliant, energetic, loving and most carefree person and the first man I ever loved. Everyone he came in contact with loved him – no adored him.”
They continued: “I will keep everyone posted on his celebration of life.
“I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers as his family grieves and processes everything at this time.”
“I love you Dad. So much,” he concluded.
After Paul’s son shared the devastating news online, many waded in to send love to his family.
One commented: “R.I.P. His guitar playing especially on the Wild The Willing and The Innocent album has given me strength.
“He will be missed, however, his music lives.”
Another added: “So sorry for your loss. Paul helped me become the musician I am today and I am forever grateful.
“He was a kind person, a patient teacher and an inspiration.”
Paul was born and brought up in Cardiff, and joined UFO in 1974. He left the following year to form Lone Star with Kenny Driscoll, Tony Smith, Ray Jones, Pete Hurley, Dixie Lee and Jim Matthews.
But he rejoined UFO in 1978 as Michael Schenker’s replacement, where he played on their studio albums No Place to Run, The Wild, and many more.
UFO split in 1983, which led the musician to team up with bassist Pete Way in Waysted to record albums The Good the Bad the Waysted and Save your Prayers.
Following the news of Paul’s passing, many shared heartfelt tributes online, including former Motorhead guitarist Phil Campbell: “Just woke up to sad news of Paul Chapman passing.
“He was my main influence on guitar for many years and a brilliant bloke,” he added.
“Thoughts are with his family.”
UFO also shared the news with their 15,000 fans on Twitter today as they wrote: “We send our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Paul Tonka Chapman, who died yesterday, on his 66th birthday.
“Paul’s son broke the tragic news on Paul’s Facebook page yesterday evening. R.I.P. Tonka.”
One of Paul’s fans replied: “RIP Paul – first guitarist I ever saw live. Life-changing – thank you.”
Paul was known by his nickname Tonka after being associated for his “indestructible qualities”.