One of the founding members of legendary Australian rock band The Masters Apprentices, Gavin Webb, has died aged 77 after a six-year battle with cancer.

After being in remission for a few years, the bassist died in the Royal Adelaide Hospital on Tuesday afternoon, the band’s label confirmed.

The Masters Apprentices were formed in Adelaide in the mid-1960s when forerunners The Mustangs rebranded.

Webb’s involvement had humble beginnings, and came about as a result of a 1965 ad placed by his brother, on his behalf, in Adelaide newspaper The News that simply stated: “Student bass player wishes to practise with group”.

Webb rejoined the band for reunion tours in the 1980s and more recently in the mid-2010s.(Supplied)

The Mustangs’ Mick Bower, Brian Vaughton and Rick Morrison spotted the ad and auditioned the bass player, with lead singer Jim Keays joining the group the following year.

Webb, naturally nicknamed ‘Spider’, went onto perform on the band’s self-titled debut album in 1967, with early popular hits including the songs Undecided and Living in a Child’s Dream.

“Gavin’s band dossier from 1966 says his personal ambition is to ‘be a good musician’, a humble dream he would go on to transcend,” the band said.

“Gavin leaves behind an incredible musical legacy which will live forever in Australia’s music history.”

After developing stomach ulcers, Webb left the band in 1968, and was succeeded by Glenn Wheatley, who remained as bass player until the band split in 1972.

But Webb rejoined in 1986 for reunion tours, and went onto play with the original line-up when reunited in 2014 following the death of Keays.

The remaining original members today paid tribute to the “softly spoken” Webb who “entered our lives 60 years ago”.

“He joined our band as a bassist and from that moment became a member of our family; our brother,” the trio said.

“We will greatly miss our Gavin and treasure the life long bond we will share forever — from Mustangs to Masters.”

Brian Vaughton, Rick Morrison, Mick Bower and Gavin Webb at Adelaide’s King’s Head Hotel — where the band used to rehearse — in 2016.(Supplied)

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