(New York) British guitarist Denny Laine, co-founder of the Moody Blues in the 1960s and of the Wings with the McCartney couple after the separation of the Beatles, died Tuesday at the age of 79, announced his wife Elizabeth Hines.

On her husband’s Instagram account, Ms. Hines made public the musician’s death from a lung disease, an “unpredictable and aggressive interstitial lung disease.”

“I was at his bedside, holding his hand, as I played his favorite Christmas songs that he had sung over the past few weeks […] while being, this past week, in intensive care on a ventilator,” said -she writes, posting a photo of their couple.

Paul McCartney said on Instagram that he was “very saddened to learn of the death of (his) former bandmate” Wings formed in 1971 with his wife Linda McCartney, after the separation of the legendary Beatles in 1970.

Paul McCartney hailed Denny Laine as “an exceptional singer and guitarist” and spoke of writing with him for their worldwide hit Mull of Kintyre (1977).

“We had grown apart but in recent years we had reconnected and shared our memories,” the 81-year-old British legend wrote.

Wings’ best-known album, topping the charts in the UK and US, was Band on the Run in 1973. The group lasted until 1981.

Denny Laine was born in October 1944 in Birmingham, England as Brian Hines, and is known for taking up the guitar at a young age, influenced by Chuck Berry and Django Reinhardt.

He founded the Moody Blues in 1964 with pianist Mike Pinder, a progressive and psychedelic rock group still officially active although most of the original members have died.

Paul McCartney recalled on Instagram the “great memories of (his) time with Denny when the Beatles were touring with the Moddy Blues”, a band that Laine left in 1965 after their first album.