The band's frontman David Coverdale said he "treasures the memory of knowing [Mel] and working together with him."
Galley joined Whitesnake in 1982, and recorded one album with the band, 'Saints 'n'Sinners.' He was prevented from recording further material with the band when in 1984 he had an accident at a fairground in Germany which resulted in nerve damage and rendered him unable to play the guitar.
He later began to play again with the help of a specially developed spring and wire device known as 'the claw.'
Galley was at his home in Cannock, Staffordshire when he died. His positive attitude to his illness enabled him to spend his final months saying goodbye to his many friends.
Galley, who also played with The Blue Jays, Trapeze and Finders Keepers during his career, announced in February that he was terminally ill, saying: "I have been very lucky. I have seen some great bands, and played with many great musicians. And I have enjoyed some tremendous experiences. I am thankful that I can say a proper goodbye to all the friends I have made, who are now rallying round me."
Former colleague and Moody Blues man Justin Hayward commented: "Mel's quiet, laconic humour and infectious smile brought real warmth into my life. His contribution as a musician and friend was immeasurable. Our times together are magical memories for me. Some people possess the quality of true timelessness, and Mel is one of the few who the years never seemed to change".