Mr. Eppridge spent eight years on the staff of Life, the weekly magazine noted for its striking photography. He covered many of the seminal events of the time, including the civil rights movement, the war in Vietnam, the Beatles’ arrival in the United States and the Woodstock music festival in New York.
His most searing images came from his coverage of Kennedy’s campaign to win the 1968 Democratic presidential nomination. He followed the candidate, then a U.S. senator from New York, across the country as throngs of people crowded close to hear to him speak and to shake his hand.
“He ignored me,” Mr. Eppridge said of Kennedy in a 2008 interview with NPR. “And by ignoring me, he allowed me to photograph moments that were really true moments; not set up, not photo ops, but just moments that happened, and I loved it.”
After Kennedy won the California primary, he addressed a hopeful crowd of supporters in the early morning hours of June 5, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. He left through the kitchen, shaking hands with hotel workers.
Mr. Eppridge was about 12 feet behind Kennedy when he heard gunfire — eight shots, he distinctly recalled. He then saw Kennedy lying on his back, his arms outstretched, as a busboy, Juan Romero, kneeled over him.
Using black-and-white film, Mr. Eppridge instinctively began to snap pictures. There was barely enough light to illuminate the side of Kennedy’s face, as Mr. Eppridge captured a chillingly unforgettable image.
“I was standing there, looking,” Mr. Eppridge told NPR, “and suddenly realized that what I was seeing there was an icon, almost. It was almost like a crucifixion.”
He would later photograph mourners lining the tracks as Kennedy’s funeral train made its slow way to Washington. But it was 25 years later, when he was preparing the first of two books about Kennedy, before Mr. Eppridge could bear to look at his contact sheets from the Ambassador Hotel.
“I have been living with this thing 40 years now,” he told the Baltimore Sun in 2008. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think, somehow, about him. Or that campaign. Or the consequences of his assassination.”
Guillermo Alfredo Eduardo Eppridge was born March 20, 1938, in Buenos Aires, where his American father was a chemical engineer with DuPont. He returned with his family to the United States as a child and graduated from a private school in Delaware.
He began taking photographs in high school and was twice named college photographer of the year before graduating in 1960 from the University of Missouri. He went on a nine-month trip around the world for National Geographic, then freelanced before joining Life.
One of his first assignments was to spend six days with the Beatles on their first trip to the United States in February 1964. A collection of his photographs of the time, most of them never before seen, will be published next year in the book “The Beatles: Six Days that Changed the World.”