KISS + Iron Maiden Bodyguard ‘Big’ John Harte Dead at 70
Rock star bodyguard and ex-KISS security director "Big" John Harte died last week at age 70, according to Classic Rock. He was also a bodyguard for Iron Maiden, Billy Idol, Prince and others.
Harte's Feb. 11 death from cancer was confirmed by his agent, Michael Brandvol. On Sunday (Feb. 13), KISS and their core members, plus former guitarist Ace Frehley, honored Harte and offered sympathies.
See the tributes down near the bottom of this post.
"We are heartbroken at the passing of our long time friend and KISS security director John Harte," KISS jointly commented. "He was and is a legend in KISSWORLD. Our deepest condolences."
KISS' Paul Stanley added, "Harte was with us from the beginning and has ALWAYS been family. He fought valiantly and relentlessly against cancer and I was thankful to be able to cheer him on."
Bandmate Gene Simmons shared, "Rest In Peace, John Harte. A wonderful man. He was our security guy in the 70's. Our prayers and condolences to his family."
Frehley said, "He was my bodyguard and very good friend! He saved my life more than once! Wish I could have saved him."
Harte, who began writing a memoir last year, started working full-time for KISS in 1975 and toured with the band for the next eight years. After that, he spent much of the 1980s protecting Iron Maiden on the road. (His book is set for release next year.)
Harte was born John Joseph Harte III on Nov. 15, 1951, in Newark, N.J., per Blabbermouth. The older of two boys, he helped support his family after his mother died unexpectedly. Intending to become a musician, he played drums in a band before an encounter controlling a Grateful Dead audience led to his career.