Gerry and the Pacemakers star Gerry Marsden dead at age 78

3 January 2021, 17:31 | Updated: 3 January 2021, 21:53

Gerry Marsden has died at the age of 78
Gerry Marsden has died at the age of 78. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The front-man of Gerry and the Pacemakers, Gerry Marsden, has died at the age of 78 following a short illness.

The You’ll Never Walk Alone singer suffered an infection in his heart.

Radio host Pete Price, a friend of Mr Marsden, confirmed the news on social media.

Mr Price tweeted: "It’s with a very heavy heart after speaking to the family that I have to tell you the Legendary Gerry Marsden MBE after a short illness which was an infection in his heart has sadly passed away.

"Sending all the love in the world to Pauline and his family. You’ll Never Walk Alone."

Mr Marsden is survived by his wife Pauline and their two daughters, Yvette and Victoria.

You'll Never Walk Alone enjoyed a resurgence during the coronavirus pandemic after a cover of the song, featuring Captain Sir Tom Moore, reached number one in the UK singles chart.

Gerry and the Pacemakers, a hit in the 1960s Merseybeat scene, completed sell-out tours around the world.

Merseybeat singer Gerry Marsden's "devastated" daughter said she "very, very proud to call him dad".

Chuckling a little as she tried not to sob, his daughter Yvette Marbeck said: "My sister Vicky and myself have always been very, very proud of dad.

"He has always been a good man. He had his feet on the ground. He made us laugh every single day. He was our hero, wonderful."

Marsden, the lead singer of Gerry and the Pacemakers - whose songs included the Liverpool anthem You'll Never Walk Alone, died in the early hours of Sunday at the age of 78.

He went into hospital on Boxing Day after tests showed he had a serious blood infection that had travelled to his heart.

Ms Marbeck told the PA news agency: "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. It is just a dreadful situation for everyone.

"He was our dad, our hero, warm, funny and what you see is what you got."

She said her mother Pauline, who was his childhood sweetheart, is "just heartbroken" by his death and together they have been "fabulous parents, deeply in love and real role models".

They would have been married 56 years this year.

Ms Marbeck's 22 year-old son Tom and Marsden "worshipped each other", while his other grandchild Maggie was born to his other daughter Vicky during lockdown. He "adored" her, Ms Marbeck said.

His 60 years of live performances brought a string of hits, including Ferry Cross The Mersey, and awards of which he and the whole family were very proud.

They included an MBE, freedom of the ferries and he was granted the Freedom of the City of Liverpool.

Ms Marbeck recalled her father saying the day he got that "I am just a lad from Toxteth, I don't know how this is happening".

He was very proud of his music and that it is as popular now as it ever was, she said.

He was also "proud" that a cover version of his hit You'll Never Walk Alone, by charity fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore, got to number one last year during the pandemic.

Reflecting on the lyrics, Ms Marbeck said: "The words of it are still so very pertinent - 'At the end of a storm. There's a golden sky'.

"I think that everybody in the world is feeling at the moment that they are under a storm cloud but there will be an end to it. It is pertinent to the times that we are still in unfortunately.

"It has all felt a bit of a shock today. The tributes have been wonderful but it can break your heart in reading them."