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Astrid Kirchherr photographed the Beatles

German photographer Astrid Kirchherr who shot some of the earliest images of the Beatles, helping shape their iconic visual look has died at 81.

“God bless Astrid a beautiful being and she took great photos,” Ringo Starr tweeted Friday.

Kirchherr died Wednesday in Hamburg after a short illness just days before her 82nd birthday, Deutsche Welle reported. Olivia Harrison, George Harrison’s widow, tweeted that Kirchherr was “so thoughtful and kind and talented, with an eye to capture the soul.”

Kirchherr was a photographer’s assistant in 1960 when she met the original Beatles in Hamburg. The band had five members: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best. She was credited with devloping the Beatle trademark haircut but she denied it, saying the longer hairstyle was the vogue among young Hamburg art-types.

The Beatles in Hamburg drummer Pete Best (l) bassist Stu Sutcliffe who married Astrid (r)

“It was like a merry-go-round in my head, they looked absolutely astonishing,” Kirchherr told Beatles biographer Bob Spitz. “My whole life changed in a couple of minutes. All I wanted was to be with them and to know them.”

Best was replaced by Starr in 1962 and McCartney took over on bass for Sutcliffe after he left the band and became engaged to Kirchherr.

Astrid and Sutcliffe married, but Sutcliffe died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1962 at the age of 21. Kirchherr went on to become a freelance photographer and interior designer.

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