Russ Sainty, born Alfred Sainty, passed away at his Hayling Island home aged 85 on Sunday.
The icon, credited for being one of the founding fathers of British rock ‘n’ roll, had suffered with heart condition cardiac amyloidosis for which he was receiving treatment at Queen Alexandra Hospital following his diagnosis four-and-a-half years ago.
Russ performed with many high-profile stars including Cliff Richard and could point to having The Rolling Stones as one of his support bands during a career that saw him sell a million copies worldwide of his first album.
His glittering career started in the 1950s at the famous 2i's Coffee Bar in London where the likes Tommy Steele, The Shadows and Cliff Richard were discovered.
Russ joined his first band the Nu-Notes before the group were the first to appear at the newly-opened Butlins in Bognor in 1960.
Russ made dozens of records for EMI, with his biggest seller a cover version of Send Me the Pillow that You Dream On which appeared on The Beatles’ famous BBC radio show Pop Go the Beatles.
In later years he became entertainments’ manager for Warners in Hayling Island and even into his 80s was still performing.
A tribute from Russ’ wife Ann, posted on Facebook, said: ‘Yesterday we lost the heart of our family and my soul mate of 53 years, the legend that is Russ Sainty.
‘He was a husband, a father, father-in-law, a grandfather and a great friend to many of you and will be eternally missed by us all.
‘Due to the current circumstances and the time of year we will have a small private invite-only funeral. However in the new year we will have a celebration of his life - much more suited to his personality where we can all come together to remember and celebrate him.
‘Details will follow in due course, but for now, in his own words “keep rockin”.’
Pete Cross, posting on the Facebook page of music venue Tricorn Club in Portsmouth, wrote: ‘Sad news. Russ was a terrific chap - always smiling, welcoming and great fun and what a career he had, working till his 80s. Our thoughts to Ann and family. Thanks Russ you were a delight to know and delighted we managed to get his life story recorded.’
A post from Havant’s Angel Radio, also on the social media platform, said: ‘We are very sad to learn of the passing of Russ Sainty. Russ was a good friend of Angel Radio and will be greatly missed.
‘At 8pm tonight (Monday) we will be suspending our scheduled programmes and broadcasting The Russ Sainty Story.’
Russ released an album, Rocks from the Heart, in June to raise money for the cardiology department at Queen Alexandra Hospital and thank the team for his care.
Speaking in June Russ said: ‘It was a complete shock to get the diagnosis because I have been a healthy and active person my whole life but the team here at QA have been absolutely amazing.
‘I think the department is amazing and I just wanted to do a little something for them and to keep myself busy as well because I hate just sitting around.
‘Sixty years of my life have been in showbiz and the music industry and I have loved it. I have performed with Cliff Richard and when I was in my band, Russ Sainty and the Nu-Notes, we had The Rolling Stones as one of our support bands.
‘We opened Butlins in Bognor Regis in 1960 which is where I also met my wife Ann.
‘It is great to be able to do something I love again and hopefully will make a little bit of money for a fantastic team.’
Russ was taken to hospital three months ago and was not expected to live through the night but rallied and was even able to spend some days out of hospital before he died on Sunday.