Deep Purple’s Steve Morse quits the band to care for wife battling cancer

Deep Purple’s lead guitarist Steve Morse has announced his departure from the band after 28 years.

Steve Morse, who has played with Deep Purple since 1994 has announced he is officially stepping down from the band to care for his wife Janine during her battle with cancer.

The guitarist originally took a break from the band last year after Janine was diagnosed with cancer but he has since decided to make his hiatus permanent so he can support his partner while she undergoes treatment.

steve morse and janine
Steve and Janine. Credit: Twitter

Steve released a statement saying: “Last Autumn, I suddenly left the Purple writing session in Germany because my wife was having a real medical crisis.

“Almost a year later, we are learning to accept stage four aggressive cancer and chemo treatment for the rest of her life.

“We both miss being at shows, but I simply couldn’t commit to long or far away tours, since things can change quickly at home.”

Steve went on to explain that he had hoped the break would be temporary but as his wife’s condition worsened, he could no longer commit to being away from home for long periods of time.

“I suggested lining up a substitute guitarist last Autumn, hoping we could see the miraculous cancer cure all of us have heard about. As time went by, I could see the way things were heading though, after 28 years of being in the band.” Steve went on.

“I’ll miss everybody in the band and crew but being Janine’s helper and advocate has made a real difference at many key points.

“As Janine adjusts to her limitations, she is able to do many things on her own, so we will try to play some shorter nearby concert tours with friends to – hopefully – get both of us out of the house!”

Fellow Deep Purple member Ian Gillian added to the statement, pointing out that the band had to move on without Steve as they hadn’t been able to perform for the majority of the last two years thanks to COVID.

“All this has come at a terrible time for everybody, including the other musicians in Deep Purple. After two years off the road because of quarantines everywhere, we had to get back to what we do…” Ian wrote.

“As we get older, we realise that we’re much closer to the end, and that triggers an urgency that won’t be tamed. From Steve’s perspective, I can only imagine that there is no possible ‘nice’ way of continuing with a new man, but it is either that or call it a day, because the lack of momentum was gradually becoming something more significant; it felt terminal.

“The best way I can describe this is by using Steve’s own words; when I sent him a love letter a few weeks ago, he replied that it was weird being at home whilst we guys were out there, but ‘reality intervenes’ … and that’s what has happened.

“I can only put out love and respect, and positive vibes at the memories of good times together.”