Tributes to Beatles photographer Astrid Kirchherr who died aged 81

Touching tributes have been paid to Beatles photographer Astrid Kirchherr who has died aged 81.

Astrid reportedly died at her home in Hamburg on Wednesday, just days before her 82nd birthday.

Often credited with taking the photos that made the fab four "icons", heartfelt messages have poured in about Astrid on social media.

Former Beatle Pete Best tweeted: "Absolutely stunned to hear the news of Astrid passing. God bless you love. We shared some wonderful memories and the most amazing fun times. Condolences to family and friends, Pete (Petey)."

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George Harrison's widow Olivia tweeted: "Astrid is and was the sweetest woman, so thoughtful and kind and talented, with an eye to capture a soul. Our family loved her and none more than George. I am truly saddened but honoured to have known her. Olivia."

And rock and roll photographer Steve Goudie tweeted: "RIP Astrid Kirchherr. I photographed Astrid a few times over the years and with Klaus.

"A lovely soft spoken woman who would share with me many of her memories of Hamburg with the Beatles, and her passion for black and white photography."

Among the thousands paying tribute to Astrid is Mark Lewisohn, a well known author who covered the Beatles many times.

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He tweeted: "Danke schön, Astrid Kirchherr.

"Intelligent, inspirational, innovative, daring, artistic, awake, aware, beautiful, smart, loving and uplifting friend to many.

"Her gift to the Beatles was immeasurable. She died in Hamburg on Wednesday, a few days before turning 82. RIP."

Scot Williams, who played Pete Best in the 1994 movie Backbeat which was depicted Astrid and Stuart Sutcliffe's romance, also shared a tribute to her.

He said: "27 years ago, Astrid gave me a signed photograph of The Original Beatles line up.

"It hangs pride of place in my drum. #RipAstridKirchherr."

Astrid took her first image of the Beatles in Hamburg in 1960. Over the next two years, she became more involved with the band at a time when Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best were still apart of the group and was responsible for some of their most iconic shots.

She began dating Sutcliffe and the pair became engaged before his tragic death in 1962.

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The band's famous "moptop" haircuts have also been attributed to Astrid who cut Stuart's hair herself during those early years.

Fans of the renowned photographer shared their favourite images of her and pictures that she took alongside tributes to her.

Twitter user @rosewoodteIe said: "RIP Astrid Kirchherr, who played a major role in the early history of The Beatles, capturing the few shots of their Hamburg days in the very early 1960s.

"Her work has been appreciated for the last 60 years, and will be appreciated for many more."

And Twitter user @drivemycartney, a Paul McCartney fan account, tweeted: "I'm so sorry to hear about astrid kirchherr… that days in Hamburg changed the Beatles and changed the world and Astrid helped to do it. She was an incredible innovative artist, her talent will always be with us in her artworks. Rest in peace."

Speaking in 2010 about her experience with The Beatles, Astrid said: "When I talk about it, it feels like yesterday. But you have got to get on with your life.

"They are still my friends and I love them dearly, and I am very thankful I met them. But that is my past."

On another occasion, talking about a photograph of John Lennon, she said: