Eric Griffiths, a member of the schoolboy band that evolved into the Beatles, has died at the age of 64, his bandmates said.

Eric Griffiths, a member of the schoolboy band that evolved into the Beatles, has died at the age of 64, his bandmates said.

A message on the official Web site of Griffiths' band, the Quarrymen, said he died Saturday of cancer at his home in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Griffiths played guitar in the Quarrymen, the first group formed by the young John Lennon and the band that brought him together with Paul McCartney.

Born in Wales, Griffiths met Lennon at Liverpool's Quarry Bank High School in the 1950s. The pair, along with friends Pete Shotton and Rod Davis, formed a band to play skiffle -- a rough-and-ready blend of folk, blues and country and western styles popularized by British musicians such as Lonnie Donegan.

Lennon later invited McCartney to join the group. The pair went on to form one of the greatest songwriting partnerships in popular music.

Griffiths left the group in 1958 -- around the time George Harrison joined on guitar -- and later joined the merchant navy.

After a series of name changes, including Johnny & the Moondogs and Silver Beetles, Lennon, McCartney and Harrison formed the Beatles in 1960, with drummer Ringo Starr completing the lineup in 1962 when he replaced Pete Best.

The Beatles' enormous success brought a measure of fame to their former bandmates. In the late 1990s, the non-famous members of The Quarrymen reunited, playing in Europe, North America and Japan. An album, "Songs We Remember," was released last month.

Griffiths is survived by his wife and three children. Funeral details were not immediately available.


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