Francis, who teamed up with Rick as a teenager, revealed yesterday that, despite Rick’s recklessness over the years and brushes with illness and danger, “losing him now is still a shock".
He said: “His life was never boring, he was louder and faster and more carefree than the rest of us.
“There were any number of incidents along the way, times when he strayed into areas of true danger and yet still losing him now is still a shock.
“Even in a year that has claimed so many of our best, including now George Michael, Rick Parfitt stands out. I was not ready for this.”
Francis had been riffing and partying with Rick since the mid-1960s, when the two young guitarists first met at Butlin’s Holiday Camp in Minehead. First together in a band called The Spectres, then renamed Traffic Jam, they went on to form The Status Quo in 1967, with fellow founding member Alan Lancaster.
Francis’s words come following Rick’s death in Spain on Friday, aged 68.
The veteran rocker passed away, following a huge heart attack earlier in the year.
The band’s statement on their website reveals that he died in hospital from an infection, having been admitted to hospital on Thursday evening.
He was suffering complications to a shoulder injury incurred by a previous fall.
The statement adds that Rick had been planning to forge a solo career in the coming year, following his decision to quit touring with his longtime band.
It had been a horrendous year for the much-loved musician. Rick had quit touring with his band in the summer after he suffered his fourth heart attack, during his time away with the band in the Turkish resort of Antalya, in June.
Following his trauma, it was reported that Rick had split from his third wife Lyndsay, over disagreements concerning his life insurance.
The couple had been married for a decade and shared eight-year-old twins Tommy and Lily.
Following his heart attack while on tour with the band in Turkey, Rick explained why he wouldn’t be going back on the road, following quadruple heart bypass surgery in 1997 and previous heart attacks in 2011 and 2014.
He said then: “Going back on the road is a long way off. I do not want to die in front of the fans.”
Status Quo is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary. In half a century, the band has notched up a record-breaking 65 UK chart hits, sold more than 120million records, created its own beer and spent 415 weeks in the chart. And they opened the world’s biggest concert Live Aid in 1985, with their anthem ‘Rockin’ All Over The World’.
Almost as impressive are the alleged figures surrounding their previous off-stage habits - Francis Rossi was reported to have once spent £1,500 a week on cocaine, while Rick once estimated he had dropped a cool million pounds himself on drugs.