This was a sad surprise to me when they showed him on the news. I got to see Deep Purple for their reunion Perfect Strangers. I ran up to the stage (as I used to do back then) and ended up a few feet in front of the first row (The guys who paid scalpers for front row tickets must have been pissed off since I was closer to the stage). I don't feel that Deep Purple is really Deep Purple without Ritchie and Jon. Both of them playing together and gave Deep Purple their unique sound.
The Perfect Strangers Tour was the first time i saw 'em. The MK II line up reuniting and starting the Tour down here remains a great memory for me. I remember wagging school with mates to get tickets. It was a fantastic gig.
The interplay between Jon and Ritchie was unlike anything else in hard/heavy rock in the early '70's, it's what set them apart from Sabbath and Zeppelin, and had a big impact/influence on the Uriah Heep sound. 'In Rock' and 'Machine Head' to this day, are two of THE all time classic rock albums, while 'Made In Japan' is in my top 5 live albums.
I saw Purple a couple of times with Steve Morse, where they again put on a great show, but the MK II line up for me, is the definitive Deep Purple.