ED Sheeran and Snow Patrol today led tributes to renowned music agent Steve Strange, who has died aged 53.
The "legendary" artist booker had also worked with Eminem, Queens of the Stone Age, The Charlatans and Coldplay, among dozens more.
In a statement announcing his passing, the agency he founded in 2005, X-Ray Touring, wrote: "X-ray Touring are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Strange, one of the founding partners of the agency, has passed away after a short illness.
"We have lost a legendary figure in our personal and professional lives that we will all deeply miss.
"Steve was a unique individual within our industry, his overwhelming love of music lead to a 30 year plus career guiding the touring of an eclectic mix of artists from all genres of music that he adored.
"A universally known, hugely respected and loved character – if you hadn’t already seen him at a gig or festival, you’d most certainly hear his infectious and infamous laugh."
Ed Sheeran reacted to the news in an Instagram story and said: "A very sad day, and a huge loss."
The Charlatans singer Tim Burgess said the news was "absolutely heartbreaking" and called him “our agent, our friend and one of life’s most gloriously upbeat people.”
"You will be missed, celebrated and remembered so fondly," he added. "Goodnight big man."
Strange had been Snow Patrol's agent for over 20 years, and the band said they were left "devastated" by his death, while sharing fond memories of their friend and biggest advocator in a heartbreaking post on Instagram.
The Scottish band, made up of Gary Lightbody, Nathan Connolly, Paul Wilson, Jonny Quinn, and Johnny McDaid, wrote: "When Steve loved your band there was no one who loved it more. Steve had been with us from pretty much the start, and had guided us from tiny venues with a handful of people for so many years all the way to the biggest venues and festivals on the planet.
"He had believed in us before almost anyone else in the music industry did. In 2004, after many years of slogging we headlined a stage at a festival for the very first time: T in the Park, Scotland, 2004, the King Tuts Tent.
"Backstage just before we went on Steve excitedly told us the tent was full to capacity and there were “twice as many f*****g people outside the tent as inside it”, this line accompanied as always with his distinctive full throated laugh.
"While on stage during the first song while still trying to take in the insanity and chaos of the wild crowd, I turned around to see Steve at side of stage beaming a smile that in my memory seemed to be somehow wider than his face. Such pride he could barely contain in his boys that he’d seen through many a hard time. Today as I write I can see him still there, as if it was yesterday, smiling with his whole body."
The tribute continued: "After you’d finish a gig it wouldn’t be long before you’d hear Steve (you’d always hear his booming voice and laugh before you saw him) outside the dressing room – Steve as always the first person allowed in our dressing room post gig – to then burst in and enthuse about the show with reams of laughter and guffaws.
"To picture a world without him in it is to picture a world so diminished. With less joy, less positivity, less optimism, less heart. Quieter, duller and much less interesting.
"So instead we’ll remember the joy he brought so many people and tell ‘Steve Strange Stories’. Everyone that knows him will have some good Steve Strange Stories (I will even share one or two on here, so those that don’t know him can get to know him a little more). So today and for as long as we live we’ll tell those stories and they’ll bring us joy, and maybe the profound sadness that will be pervasive for a long time at his loss will be tempered somewhat by the laughter and joy that he brought us and everyone that knew him.
"We love you Steve. Thank you for more than we can ever put into words. Your boys, SP.x"
Glastonbury boss Emily Eavis also shared: "So sad to hear the news about music agent and industry legend Steve Strange passing. He was always so kind to us here at Glastonbury and a lovely man to deal with. We will miss you sir and your infectious laugh."
And presenter Edith Bowman said: "Such sad news. Steve was a larger than life character, a vibrant presence at so many gigs I have been to, a driving force behind so many careers. I remember after the @mtvema in Barcelona round a grand piano singing. Love to his family. RIP SS"
Snow Patrol presented Steve with an Outstanding Contribution to Music award at NI Music Prize awards in 2019.
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