Sir Paul McCartney has paid tribute to pal and ‘music rival’ Gerry Marsden.
Celebrities and fans have flooded social media with tributes to the singer, who has died at the age of 78.
Sir Paul said: “Gerry was a mate from our early days in Liverpool. He and his group were our biggest rivals on the local scene.
“His unforgettable performances of You’ll Never Walk Alone and Ferry Cross the Mersey remain in many people’s hearts as reminders of a joyful time in British music…
“My sympathies go to his wife Pauline and family. See ya, Gerry. I’ll always remember you with a smile. – Paul.”
The Liverpool-born musician – of Gerry and the Pacemakers fame – passed away following a short illness, having suffered from an infection in his heart.
Radio personality Pete Price confirmed his passing on social media on Sunday, revealing he had spoken with the Marsden family.
He said: “It’s with a very heavy heart after speaking to the family that I have to tell you the Legendary Gerry Marsden MBE after a short illness which was an infection in his heart has sadly passed away.
“Sending all the love in the world to Pauline and his family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Originating in Liverpool in 1959, Merseybeat band Gerry and the Pacemakers were pioneers of the music scene in the 60s, rivalling the Beatles.
Marsden formed the group, recruiting his brother Fred, Les Chadwick, and Arthur McMahon as the original band members.
Their first three single releases – How Do You Do It?, I Like It and You’ll Never Walk Alone – made history, each reaching number one on the charts.
Piers Morgan wrote: “RIP Gerry Marsden, 78. The man who with Gerry and The Pacemakers gave the people of Liverpool two of the city’s greatest anthems.. Ferry Cross The Mersey and You’ll Never Walk Alone Great singer, great character. Very sad news.”
“It is with such great sadness that we hear of Gerry Marsden’s passing. Gerry’s words will live on forever with us. You’ll Never Walk Alone,” penned Liverpool FC’s official page.
One said: “Oh no. How very sad. Condolences to his family.”
“Very sorry to hear this. Gerry was a national Treasure for sure. I still regularly listen to Ferry across the Mersey – just one of his classics. RIP,” wrote another.
In recent years, Gerry underwent a triple bypass heart surgery in 2003 and a second heart operation in 2016.
The star is survived by his wife Pauline Marsden and their two daughters Yvette and Victoria.