Yet, shockingly, surviving bandmates Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey announced Friday they will not scrap their three-month U.S. tour, and will perform Monday night at the Hollywood Bowl.
"We are going on. First show Hollywood Bowl," Townshend wrote on his Website. "Pray for us, John, wherever you are."
That initial show will serve as "a tribute to John Entwistle," the band said.
The message came just hours after Townshend and Daltrey mourned the death of their bass player, posting a note on Townshend's site reading, "The Ox has left the building--we've lost another great friend."
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> Entwistle, who had nicknames like "The Ox," "The Quiet One" and "Thunderfingers," died Thursday of an apparent heart attack at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, just one day before the band was slated to begin its summer tour. He was 57.
An autopsy was scheduled to be performed Friday to determine the exact cause of death. Entwistle had been on medication for a heart condition.
Following word of his death, Daltrey and Townshend canceled shows scheduled for Friday night in Las Vegas and Saturday in Irvine, California. Those two shows will be rescheduled, the band said Friday.
Pino Palladino, a British session musician who has played with Townshend, will attempt to fill the gargantuan void left on bass.
Former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman described Entwistle as "the quietest man in private but the loudest man on stage. He was unique and irreplaceable." The Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek called him "one of the great, great rock 'n' roll bassists of all time. A real genius."
Fans who had planned to see Entwistle perform Friday night instead placed flowers outside the Hard Rock Hotel's the Joint concert venue, while a marquee outside the hotel said "John Entwistle. 1944-2002. You will be missed by all."
Meanwhile, Who fans and industry observers also debated Friday over Daltrey and Townshend's decision to continue playing just days after Entwistle's passing.
For one thing, there are financial issues. With the tour poised to make somewhere between $25-30 million, "certainly Pete and Roger stood to lose millions by canceling," acknowledges Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the concert trade magazine Pollstar.
But more importantly, "Entwistle was more than a normal bass player. He often played the bass more like a lead guitar. He's not going to be easy to replace," Bongiovanni said.
Fans were torn about the move, with some saying Entwistle would have wanted his pals to soldier on. "It was never the same after [drummer] Keith [Moon] passed, either," one fan, Cephus, wrote on a Who message board. "However, it is all about the music and I have to believe that John would want them to keep his memory alive and keep playing."
Others, however, weren't so comfortable with the idea. "I just don't see how the Who can even try to continue after this," another fan wrote, while yet another said it would be "sick to carry on."