Tributes flowed in today to Cannock guitarist Mel Galley, of Whitesnake and Trapeze, who has died of cancer aged 60.
The former Whitesnake and Trapeze songwriter and guitar star was given only weeks to live in February, but stated his determination to enjoy life to the end and use the time to say goodbye to all his friends.
"No negativity" was his watchword to anyone who appeared to him even the slightest bit saddened at his plight.
Galley slipped quietly away last night at his home in Bank Street, Heath Hayes, nursed by his wife Annette, having said a last goodbye to his Trapeze co-star Glenn Hughes a week ago.
His friend, TV star Chris Evans, was among those who attended his 60th birthday party earlier this year.
He said today: "He was a fine man, never knowingly besmirched by anyone.
"Not a bad bone in his body, and annoyingly good at tennis. We’ve lost a good one there."
Hughes, formerly of Deep Purple, said today: "He was my oldest, closest friend, bandmate and brother.
"He gave me the inspiration and foundation to a life beyond my wildest dreams - he gave me hope, laughter and wisdom. His legacy is safe with me, from Coast To Coast."
Moody Blues star Justin Hayward, with whom Mel played in The Blue Jays, said: "Mel’s quiet, laconic humour and infectious smile brought real warmth into my life.
"His contribution as a musician and friend was immeasurable, as it was in the Blue Jays touring band of the mid-seventies.
"Our times together are magical memories for me.
"Some people possess the quality of true timelessness, and Mel is one of the few who the years never seemed to change."
Bass player John Lodge, also of the Moody Blues and Blue Jays, said: "From our first recording sessions together, his enthusiasm and his passion shone through, and it was a true pleasure to be part of his life.
"His songwriting and his melodious rock guitar playing will be his legacy. Mel, your music lives on."
The musician’s manager Tony Perry said: "Mel was a superb musician and a true friend.
"It has been a great pleasure and a wonderful experience to have been involved in his career for so many years.
"His outlook on life and his courage will remain with me forever. I will miss him greatly."
Tony’s daughter, TV star Suzi Perry, said: "Mel was the kind of person that you just wanted to be around - warm, generous, and very talented.
"He owned a wonderful sense of humour, and time spent with him was always fun.
"As a child growing up, he was my rock star hero, and as an adult he was the perfect and coolest godfather.
"Mel was very easy to love, and that’s why he will be missed by everyone who came into his life." Maurice Jones, organiser of Live Aid, said: "The man was a gentleman of rock and roll, and he contributed the music that will last forever."
One of his best friends, Express & Star artist John Hackney, 61, said: "He was a brilliant musician who brought a lot of joy to a lot of people, both through his music and as a person. He was a gentleman - a true gentleman."