Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks have led tributes to the “one-of-a-kind” Christine McVie following the Fleetwood Mac star’s death at the age of 79.
Nicks lamented the loss of her “best friend in the whole world”, while Fleetwood said part of his heart had “flown away” following the news.
McVie’s family confirmed her death, following a short illness, on Wednesday.
“This is a day where my dear sweet Friend Christine McVie has taken to flight and left us earthbound folks to listen with bated breath to the sounds of that ‘song bird,’ reminding one and all that love is all around us to reach for and touch in this precious life that is gifted to us,” Fleetwood wrote.
“Part of my heart has flown away today… I will miss everything about you Christine McVie.
“Memories abound… they fly to me. Mick Fleetwood.”
Nicks said she had not known McVie was ill until Saturday night, and had wanted to visit her in London.
“A few hours ago I was told that my best friend in the whole world since the first day of 1975, had passed away,” she wrote in a heartfelt post on Instagram.
“I didn’t even know she was ill… until late Saturday night. I wanted to be in London, I wanted to get to London – but we were told to wait.
“So, since Saturday, one song has been swirling around my head, over and over and over. I thought I might possibly get to sing it to her, and so I’m singing it to her now.
“I always knew I would need these words one day… It’s all I can do now.”
Nicks then shared lyrics to the song Hallelujah by Haim, handwritten, adding: “See you on the other side my love. Don’t forget me. Always, Stevie.”
British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac were founded in London in 1967 and have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the most successful groups in history.
Despite its tumultuous history, Fleetwood Mac became one of the best-known rock bands of the 1970s and 80s, comprising Mick Fleetwood, Christine and John McVie, as well as Lindsey Buckingham and Nicks.
Perhaps their best-known album, Rumours – released in 1977, became one of the best-selling of all time and included hits such as Second Hand News, The Chain and the Christine McVie-penned You Make Loving Fun.
In addition to several multi-platinum tracks, the record sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.
A statement from the band on Twitter described McVie as “truly one-of-a-kind, special and talented beyond measure”.
“There are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine McVie. She was truly one-of-a-kind, special and talented beyond measure,” the statement read.
“She was the best musician anyone could have in their band and the best friend anyone could have in their life.
“We were so lucky to have a life with her. Individually and together, we cherished Christine deeply and are thankful for the amazing memories we have. She will be so very missed.”
Singer-songwriter and keyboardist McVie penned Songbird, one of the band’s most famous tracks, as well as Don’t Stop, You Make Loving Fun, Oh Daddy and Little Lies.
In 1970, McVie released her first solo album, Christine Perfect, after her maiden name. In an interview this year, she told Uncut magazine: “There’s maybe a couple of good songs on it.”
It took McVie another 14 years to release a follow-up solo album – titled Christine McVie – before releasing another album In The Meantime in 2004.
In June this year, the singer-songwriter released another album titled Songbird, a collection of songs drawn from two of her previous solo albums.
She was among the eight members of the band who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
McVie left the band in 1998 after almost three decades but re-joined in 2014 when a one-off appearance at the O2 reignited her love of performing.
At the time she told the Guardian: “It was amazing, like I’d never left. I climbed back on there again and there they were, the same old faces on stage.”
In 2017, she appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, revealing that she had retreated from the world and developed agoraphobia after she quit the band and moved from California to Kent.
McVie’s death comes two years after Fleetwood Mac co-founder Peter Green died at the age of 73.
A statement from her family said: “It is with a heavy heart we are informing you of Christine’s death. She passed away peacefully at hospital this morning, Wednesday, November 30th 2022, following a short illness.
“She was in the company of her family. We kindly ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this extremely painful time and we would like everyone to keep Christine in their hearts and remember the life of an incredible human being, and revered musician who was loved universally.”