Buzzcocks singer Pete Shelley dies from suspected heart attack aged 63

Pete Shelley has died at the age of 63 - REX
Pete Shelley has died at the age of 63 - REX

The lead singer of punk pioneers Buzzcocks has died at the age of 63 from a suspected heart attack. 

Pete Shelley was the front man for the band who are best known for their 1978 hit Ever Fallen In Love but whose sound and influence runs through the generations of post-punk and indie groups that followed. 

The band's management told the BBC that Shelley died on Thursday in Estonia where he was living.

The band posted on their twitter page saying: "It's with great sadness that we confirm the death of Pete Shelley, one of the UK's most influential and prolific songwriters and co-founder of the seminal original punk band Buzzcocks.

"Pete's music has inspired generations of musicians over a career that spanned five decades and with his band and as a solo artist, he was held in the highest regard by the music industry and by his fans around the world."

Shelley formed the band with Howard Devoto after seeing the Sex Pistols perform in the mid 70s. They split up for the first time after releasing three albums in 1981 before reforming in 1989.

They released their ninth album, The Way, in 2014.

Although they never surpassed The Sex Pistols in terms of public impact, their angular guitars and biting vocals are cited as an influence by scores of bands, from new wave and grunge to experimental electronic groups. Their reach was evident in the number of musicians paying tribute to the singer on social media.

Tim Burgess, lead singer of The Charlatans, said Shelley would be remembered "for a long, long time" for his "brilliant" work.

He tweeted: "Pete Shelley wrote perfect three minute pop songs. The soundtrack to being a teenager. You'll be missed Pete but you'll be remembered for a long long time for your brilliant music."

Tracey Thorn, formerly one half of dance music duo Everything But The Girl, also paid her respects, quoting from Buzzcocks track 16 Again.

She tweeted: "Oh God but I loved Buzzcocks. And Pete Shelley was an amazing songwriter. 'But after all life's only death's recompense."'