The guitarist "died" for several minutes after suffering a heart attack following a performance in Turkey. He underwent a life-saving operation to fit a defibrillator into his chest.

The 68-year-old was told to rest for the remainder of the year to recover and receive neuropsychological support so he had to sit out the band's autumn tour which began in Austria earlier this month (Oct16).

His bandmate Rossi appeared on U.K. show Good Morning Britain on Friday (21Oct16) and gave an update on Parfitt's health, assuring viewers he was making progress slowly but surely.

“He's working with it and he's trying to get better and I think he is slowly, but as my mother and father used to say, ‘he's under the doctor still’, but he's working with it and he's getting better.

“He was out for some time... it was such a shock, Rick's been a wild man for so long and as he said in his press release, ‘there's now the payback for it’ but it was a shock."

Rossi adds the band had to pull together to figure out how to continue with their work commitments. Parfitt was replaced by guest guitarists and for the current tour he is replaced by Richie Malone, who has been a good fit with the group.

“We knew he would work," the singer adds. "He had a style about him. That young person has added something. I don't know what it is but it's working.”

Their tour, set to be their last electric trek, concludes at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England on 23 December (16). This week (begs17Oct16), Parfitt shared a handwritten note with fans in which he confessed he was missing being a part of "the last year of rockin'".