Pete Shelley, one of the founding fathers of British punk rock has died of a suspected heart attack.

The lead singer of punk band Buzzcocks, best known for punk classics such as Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've), What Do I Get? and Promises died in Estonia where he was living, the group's management confirmed.

The frontman's brother Gary McNeish announced the news on Facebook, telling fans: "This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, is tell you my brother Pete Shelley had a heart attack this morning and passed away."

The band's website also confirmed the news on social media, saying: "It's with great sadness that we confirm the death of Pete Shelley, one of the UK's most influential and prolific songwriters and co-founder of the seminal original punk band Buzzcocks.

"Pete's music has inspired generations of musicians over a career that spanned five decades and with his band and as a solo artist, he was held in the highest regard by the music industry and by his fans around the world."

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The band were due on tour next year with a date at the O2 Academy in Glasgow on June 29.  It was in support of 40th anniversary reissuses of their seminal first two albums, Another Music In Different Kitchen and Love Bites.

Tributes to the punk icon were swift and included words from Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake.

Former Sex Pistols bass player and songwriter Glen Matlock said he was "totally shocked and saddened" by the "untimely death".   

"A superb songwriter, artist and a totally sweet hearted guy who was one of the very few originals of punk and even a one off within that. My deepest condolences to his family and friends," he said.

Midge Ure said: "Sad to hear of death of one of the punk/new wave pioneers."

Pete Shelley's last appearance with the band in Glasgow was at the annual Scotland Calling festival of old school punk in April at the O2 ABC - two months before the Sauchiehall Street venue was devastated by fire.


Shelley was born to Margaret and John McNeish at in Leigh, Lancashire.  His mother was an ex-mill worker in the town, while his father was a fitter at the nearby Astley Green Colliery. 

He formed Buzzcocks with Howard Devoto after the two met at Bolton Institute of Technology in 1975 and subsequently travelled to London to see the Sex Pistols.

The author Neil Gaiman said "part of my youth dies with him".

They debuted in 1976 in Manchester, opening for the Sex Pistols and went on to become a significant part of the punk movement.

Shelley who wrote and sang many of the classic Buzzcocks songs once said punk was "like heavy metal, played badly"

The Buzzcocks perform What Do I Get? at Scotland Calling in April

Buzzcocks live in May.