Legendary Beatles photographer and muse, Astrid Kirchherr — the fiancee of bassist Stuart Sutcliffe — died of cancer on May 12th, only days before her 82nd birthday, according to NME. Kirchherr, along with then- boyfriend and future solo Beatles sideman, Klaus Voormann, first discovered the Beatles in October 1960 when they were playing their first residency in Hamburg, Germany at the Kaiserkeller in the seedy red light district of the city's infamous Reeperbahn. She, Voormann, and a third friend, photographer Jurgen Vollmer, became the band's first true believers. It was Kirchherr's early photographs that have defined the band's pre-fame, leather-clad days.
Astrid Kirchherr was responsible for inspiring the change from greased pompadours into the “mop top” — as well as embracing suede and collarless jackets. Her life with the Beatles was spotlighted in the 1994 movie, Backbeat.
She and Stuart Sutcliffe, the Beatles' first bassist, were engaged until his death of a cerebral hemorrhage in April 1962. He had left the band to study art and lived with Astrid and her mother at the time of his death. She remained very close with the other Beatles — vacationing with Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr in 1963; spending time with them on the set of A Hard Days Night in 1964; and again when the band returned to the Hamburg in 1966. Although she never photographed them for an album cover, photographer Robert Freeman aped Kirchherr's signature half-shadowed faces for both 1963's With The Beatles and 1964's A Hard Days Night. Kirchherr went on to provide the back portrait of George Harrison for his 1968 solo debut, Wonderwall Music.