"What a talent. What a character": Tributes to Steve Harley, Cockney Rebel star, who has died aged 73

Stars from the UK music scene have been paying tribute to Cockney Rebel star Steve Harley, whose death at the age of 73 was announced at the weekend. He had recently cancelled live commitments to undego treatment for cancer.

The birdsong from his woodland that he loved so much was singing for him

Family statement

“We are devastated to announce that Steve, our wonderful husband, father and grandfather, has passed away peacefully at home, with his family by his side,” a family facebook post reads

“We know he will be desperately missed by countless friends, family and devoted fans all over the world, and we ask that you respectfully allow us privacy to grieve.”

"The birdsong from his woodland that he loved so much was singing for him. His home has been filled with the sounds and laughter of his four beloved grandchildren.

"Stephen. Steve. Dad. Grandar. Steve Harley. Whoever you know him as, his heart exuded only core elements. Passion, kindness, generosity, and much more, in abundance.

"Steve took enormous comfort from all of his fans' well wishes during his battle, and we know he would want to thank you all deeply for your love and support throughout his career, and during his battle to the end."

"What a talent. What a character," frequent collaborator Mike Batt wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "My condolences to Dorothy and all. RIP, mate."

Midge Ure, Ultravox frontman, who did production work for Harley in the '80s called him a "true 'working musician'".

Writing on social media, Ure posted "He toured until he could tour no more, playing his songs for fans old and new. Our songs live on longer than we ever can."

Boy George wrote that he cried when he heard the news: "Amazing songwriter. One of my heroes."

John Taylor, Duran Duran bassist, recalled the time Harley guested on the band's cover of Make Me Smile. "The moment Steve entered was truly chilling, and I still remember it today. An amazing moment."

"Man, Cockney Rebel were awesome. First two albums perfection."

Steve Harley

(Image credit: Getty Images/Gijsbert Hanekroot)
Will Groves

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