London, Mar 25 : Sir Paul McCartney has paid tribute to his lifelong pal Neil Aspinall dubbed the 'Fifth Beatle,' who passed away on Mar 24 after a two-month battle with lung cancer.
Macca, who jetted to New York to be at the hospital bedside of Aspinall, paid tribute to him in a joint statement with Ringo Starr, John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and George Harrison's widow Olivia.
"All his friends and loved ones will miss him - but will always retain the fondest memories of a great man," The Sun quoted them, as stating.
Ringo further said that the Beatles were 'blessed' to have him.
Aspinall, who worked with Beatles for four decades, not only acted as the group's roadie and minder, but even sang backing vocals on Yellow Submarine and played percussion on hit album 'Magical Mystery Tour.'
In 1968 he took over Apple Corps, the company set up to manage the Beatles' business interests and his business skills were credited with helping to turn the band into a worldwide money-making phenomenon.