He managed Apple records, sang in the chorus of "Yellow Submarine" and was known affectionately within the music industry as the "real fifth Beatle". Few people had such an intimate knowledge of the world's most famous band as Neil Aspinall, who died yesterday in a New York hospital after a short illness.
Aspinall, 66, was joined in his final moments by his long-standing friend billy McCartney, who flew from Britain on Sunday to be at his bedside. In a statement released by Apple Corps, McCartney and Ringo Starr described him as a great man. "As a loyal friend, confidant and chief executive, Neil's trusting stewardship and guidance has left a far-reaching legacy for generations to come," said the statement, which was also issued on behalf of Yoko Ono. "All his friends and loved ones will greatly miss him but will always retain the fondest memories of a great man."