British singer Wayne Fontana has died, at the age of 74.
A statement from Wayne’s management company confirmed that he had died on Thursday afternoon at a hospital in Stockport.
They said: “Chimes Int’l on behalf of the family of Wayne Fontana regret to announce he passed away this afternoon at Steppinghill Hospital, Stockport. His long-term partner was by his side.”
In their statement, Chimes International also stated that Wayne’s family had asked “for privacy at this time”.
Born Glyn Geoffrey Ellis in 1945, the musician took on his stage name after being inspired by Elvis Presley’s drummer, DJ Fontana.
Wayne rose to fame in the 1960s, as the lead singer of Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders, having chart hits with songs like Game Of Love – which peaked at number one in the US, during what was dubbed the British Invasion – and Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, a cover of a song by American R&B singer Major Lance.
After leaving the band in 1965, Wayne went on to enjoy brief success as a solo artist, releasing tracks including Come On Home and Pamela Pamela, which both reached the top 20 in the UK.
Subsequent single Gina reached number one in Belgium.
In later years, Wayne experienced legal troubles, and was sentenced to 11 months in prison after admitting to setting fire to a debt collector’s car in 2007.
He appeared in court dressed as the Lady of Justice, which included a crown, cape and dark glasses.
Among those to pay tribute was Radio 2 DJ Tony Blackburn, who presents the show Sounds Of The 60s.
“So sorry to hear about the passing of great 60′s icon Wayne Fontana yesterday,” he tweeted on Friday. “He was a lovely guy and gave us some great songs.”
So sorry to hear about the passing of great 60's icon Wayne Fontana yesterday.He was a lovely guy and gave us some great https://t.co/BF3e2O110t Sounds Of The Sixties has been recorded already for tomorrow we will do a tribute on Saturday week's show. R.I.P. Wayne— Tony Blackburn (@tonyblackburn) August 7, 2020
Fellow musician Peter Noone wrote on Facebook: “Wayne Wayne don’t go away.
“After 59 years of friendship, laughter, tears, jail cells and lost brain bells [sic], we have handed over our lovely lead singer Wayne Fontana to the big band in ROCK AND ROLL HEAVEN.”
Listen to Game Of Love by The Mindbenders below:
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.