Trailblazing black British pop singer and actor Kenny Lynch passed away Wednesday at the age of 81.
Born in Stepney, London, in 1938, to a Barbadian father and a British-Jamaican mother, Lynch rose to prominence in the 1960s and was one of the very few black pop singers in Britain during that time.
His death was announced by his family on his official Twitter account.
“Saddened to share this news with you all. Sadly our dad passed away in the early hours this morning. He will be remembered & missed by many,” the Tweet partly read. “We would like to say a massive thank you to the NHS & the people at Sue Ryder for all their support. Bye Dad, we will love you always!”
Lynch scored several hit songs during his heydays with two singles, Up on the Roof and You Can Never Stop Me Loving You, making it to the Top 10. He also toured with the Beatles and his cover of their 1963 single, Misery, made him the first musician to cover a song by the group.
As a seasoned actor, he featured in popular TV shows and movies including Celebrity Squares, Z-Cars, Bullseye, Just for Fun, Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, The Plank, just to mention a few.
Tributes poured in on social media after his death with celebrities paying homage to his legacy.
“We were best mates since we were 15 years of age. Teddy Boys in the West End. He was known as the Black Prince in showbusiness but to me he was a king amongst men,” actor and singer Jess Conrad shared on Twitter. “My life will never be the same without him. Always love you, bro.”
Journalist, Samira Ahmed, said Lynch was “a hugely important & stylish figure in British culture.”
“Lucky to have grown up with you on stage and screen&music, proving to kids like me that we belonged,” she added.
Popular musician, Boy George, also sent his condolences to his family, adding he was an “absolutely huge part of my 70s life and on.”
He was described by broadcaster, Danny Baker, as a “huge talent, a pioneer and tremendous company” and “one of the key witnesses to the 20th UK music/entertainment scene” who had “a million stories” but was yet “one of the cagiest interviewees when on air.”
“Wasn’t interested in his ‘place’ in pop culture. He was there.”
Awarded an OBE in 1971, Lynch, according to The Guardian, recently toured with Jimmy Tarbuck as a comedian and variety performer and appeared on Last Laugh in Vegas in 2018.
He left behind two daughters.