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Rapidfire guitarist Kevin Lawrence dead at 51

Band included Axl Rose on vocals before he found fame with Guns N' Roses

Kevin Lawrence – the founding guitarist with Axl Rose's pre-Guns N' Roses band Rapidfire – has died at the age of 51.

His passing was announced in a post on the band's Facebook page, although no cause of death has been confirmed.

The post reads: "To all friends, fans and supporters of Kevin Lawrence and his band, Rapidfire, Kevin loved you all. He was constantly inspired by your interest, your enthusiasm and your encouragement.

"He was as genuine a person as can be, uniquely creative and insatiably imaginative. He was also an extremely generous and good natured man, truly caring for his loyal friends and his beloved dogs.

"Fearlessly, Kevin did always what he wanted to do, to the end. He was a true rock'n'roller. He leaves us with his giant grin, encouraging us all to give the rest of the world a giant, extended middle finger."

Rapidfire formed in 1983, with Rose on vocals and using the name Bill Bailey. Soon after, Rose formed Hollywood Rose – the band that later merged with members of LA Guns and became Guns N' Roses.

In 2014, Lawrence released a Rapidfire EP called Ready To Rumble.

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