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Stranglers drummer Jet Black dies at 84 after 'years of ill health'

Jet Black, drummer of new-wave rock band The Stranglers, has died at the age of 84.

Bassist Jean-Jacques Burnel described him as a "force of nature", the "most erudite of men" and a "rebel with many causes".

He had suffered "years of ill health", Burnel added, and passed away "peacefully" on Tuesday, his representative confirmed.

Formed in Guildford in 1974, The Stranglers emerged through the punk rock scene, becoming known for songs including No More Heroes, Golden Brown, Always The Sun and Peaches, achieving 23 top 40 singles and 19 top 40 albums.

Before joining the band, Black, whose real name was Brian John Duffy, was in business, owning a fleet of ice cream vans which were later used to tour the UK.

He also owned an off licence, the upstairs flat doubling as Stranglers HQ in their early days.

In 1980, in Nice in the south of France, the Stranglers were arrested after allegedly inciting a riot, and Black wrote two books documenting what happened.

He also crafted bespoke furniture and designed a patented bass drum pedal.

Black retired from performing live with The Stranglers in 2015 after suffering respiratory health issues since he was a child.

Baz Warne, The Stranglers' guitarist, said: "I loved Jet. He took me under his wing over two decades ago and I never really came out from under it. I'm so very sad he's gone."

Sil Willcox, the band's manager, said: "He was the Jet force that launched The Stranglers. He was the Jet force that powered the band's determination to get heard and get noticed. Jet Black was the real deal."

Dave Greenfield, The Stranglers' keyboard player, died in May 2020 after testing positive for coronavirus.

"The welcoming committee has doubled," Burnel said.

Black leaves wife Ava and children Charlotte and Anthony.