Gerry Marsden of Gerry And The Pacemakers has died, aged 78

Fellow Merseybeat star Paul McCartney leads the tributes

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Gerry Marsden, frontman of Gerry And The Pacemakers, has died aged 78 after a short illness.

Marsden was admitted to hospital on Boxing Day after tests showed he had a serious blood infection that had travelled to his heart. His daughter Yvette Marbeck told PA news: “It was a very short illness and too quick to comprehend really. And his heart has taken some battering over the years. He had a triple bypass, an aortic valve replacement and ironically he also had a pacemaker.

“I am just devastated and heartbroken. Unfortunately, he died in hospital, which was devastating for us because we were not allowed in due to the current regulations… He was our dad, our hero, warm, funny and what you see is what you got.”

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Gerry Marsden formed Gerry And The Pacemakers in Liverpool in 1959 with his brother Fred, Les Chadwick and Arthur McMahon. The group were managed by Brian Epstein and regularly played with The Beatles in Liverpool and Hamburg.

In 1963 they hit No. 1 with their first three singles, all produced by George Martin: “How Do You Do It?”, “I Like It” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, a Rodgers and Hammerstein composition from the musical Carousel. The latter was adopted as a terrace anthem by fans of Liverpool FC and re-entered the charts this year after Marsden encouraged people to sing it during the weekly clap for carers.

“Gerry was a mate from our early days in Liverpool,” wrote Paul McCartney on Twitter. “He and his group were our biggest rivals on the local scene. His unforgettable performances of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and ‘Ferry Cross The Mersey’ remain in many people’s hearts as reminders of a joyful time in British music.”

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