Chas Hodges – one half of the musical duo Chas and Dave – has died at the age of 74.
The duo’s Twitter account said he recently received treatment for oesophageal cancer but died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours.
Known for their rock and cockney style, Chas and Dave enjoyed the height of their fame in the 1970s and 1980s with hits such as Rabbit and Snooker Loopy.
They also performed four FA Cup final songs with Tottenham Hotspur FC.
The statement on Chas and Dave’s Twitter page read: “It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the passing of our very own Chas Hodges.”
It said the pianist and vocalist had died from organ failure.
Born in north London in 1943, Chas’s career began as a session musician in the 1950 and 1960s, working with producer Joe Meek and stars including Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent. He was also in the band the Outlaws with Ritchie Blackmore.
In 1966, as a member of Cliff Bennett And The Rebel Rousers, he appeared alongside the Beatles on their final British tour.
Chas went on to team up with guitarist Dave Peacock in the 1970s.
Chas and Dave’s debut album One Fing ‘n’ Anuvver, featuring Chas on lead vocals, was released in 1975 and they went on to have eight UK top 40 hits.
They also appeared in adverts for Courage beer and Heinz Baked Beans.
In their website biography, the duo said they recorded “witty songs about life in London, performed with a strong affection for all things English reminiscent of many of the great music hall artists many years previously”.
Chas disclosed in early 2017 that he had been diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus after he struggled to swallow a glass of water.
He underwent chemotherapy and began performing again but in August, Chas and Dave cancelled their forthcoming gigs on doctor’s advice.
In a statement at the time, Chas said: “In my life as a musician/entertainer I would say the most depressing thing to have to do is to have to cancel a gig or gigs.
“Fortunately, throughout my career of thousands of gigs with Dave or in other bands, these times have been very few and far between, and only extreme illness in the past (and I mean extreme) illness has prompted me/us to have to make this decision.”
People who had worked with Chas have paid tribute on social media.
Former boxer Frank Bruno tweeted: “Worked with Chas & Dave loads of times in the 1980’s and had a good laugh with them every time.
“I can still remember I was always driving home from working with them singing Rabbit Rabbit or London Girls.”
Comedian Sir Lenny Henry posted: “What a shame. When they were on Tiswas they were always kind, respectful and played live. RIP Chas.”
The DJ and TV presenter Iain Lee said he was “absolutely gutted”, adding: Chas had always been “a real gentleman to me and very generous with his time”.
Describing him as “one of the best”, he recalled the story of how Chas had played the piano as a member of a “spontaneous band” at Eric Clapton’s 1979 wedding to Pattie Boyd – alongside Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison.
BBC Radio DJ Jo Whiley tweeted: “Oh no. This is the saddest news. Chas was a lovely lovely gentleman & our Maida Vale Xmas show was one of my absolute favourite shows.”