Guitarist and songwriter Dick Wagner, who played with Lou Reed, KISS, Alice Cooper and Aerosmith, has died aged 71.

Wagner passed away from respiratory failure in a hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona yesterday (July 30), according to Billboard magazine. 

Alice Cooper released a statement following the news of his death, which read: "Even though we know it's inevitable, we never expect to suddenly lose close friends and collaborators. 

"Dick Wagner and I shared as many laughs as we did hit records. He was one of a kind. He is irreplaceable.

"His brand of playing and writing is not seen anymore, and there are very few people that I enjoyed working with as much as I enjoyed working with Dick Wagner.

"A lot of my radio success in my solo career had to do with my relationship with Dick Wagner. Not just on stage, but in the studio and writing.

"Some of my biggest singles were ballads what I wrote with Dick Wagner. Most of Welcome to My Nightmare was written with Dick.

"There was just a magic in the way we wrote together. He was always able to find exactly the right chord to match perfectly with what I was doing.

"I think that we always think our friends will be around as long as we are, so to hear of Dick's passing comes as a sudden shock and an enormous loss for me, Rock N Roll and to his family."

Wagner also co-wrote Cooper's hit singles Only Women Bleed and I Never Cry.

Alice Cooper pays tribute to guitarist Dick Wagner