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Big Country star found dead

SIX weeks after disappearing from his home, the rock musician Stuart Adamson has been found dead in a £55-a-night hotel room in Hawaii.

The body of Adamson, 43, was discovered by Best Western Plaza staff in Honolulu late on Sunday. Although the exact circumstances of his death remain unclear, local police have refused to rule out suicide.

Friends had become concerned over his mental well-being after he recently relapsed into alcoholism and lost contact with his family.

One of the most successful and talented rock performers to have emerged from Scotland, Adamson co-founded the popular punk band the Skids in Dunfermline and went on to enjoy huge success with Big Country in the 1980s.

Ian Grant, who managed the musician since his days with the Skids, said last night: "I have just lost one of the finest people I have ever worked with or been lucky enough to know."

Richard Jobson, the former lead singer with the Skids said: "It's very sad news. I'm very concerned for his family and the people around him who must be going through a difficult, tragic time."

Adamson was last seen by his family early in November, when he left his home in Nashville, Tennessee leaving a note for his son, Callum, which read: "Back by noon, Sunday."

He was seen a week later in Atlanta, watching the Republic of Ireland versus Iran football match in a bar.

Since a phone call to his Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor on 19 November, he has not spoken to any friend or relative.

News of his death was relayed by Mr Grant, through his Track Records website, which has been the focal point for the search for the musician.

"I cannot believe I am sitting at my desk typing this," wrote Mr Grant. "I have just lost one of the finest people I have ever worked with or been lucky enough to know."

Adamson's fight with alcoholism had a long history.

On the day of Live Aid in 1985, he told friends of his intention to quit drink and held to the resolve for 12 years. When he finally broke down again, he rapidly declined and was reported to have disappeared on the eve of an album launch in 1999, although his family knew of his whereabouts.

Subsequently fans said he "looked like death" at a concert in Glasgow, and Adamson failed to turn up for an Edinburgh gig in May this year.

Four weeks ago, his latest band, the Raphaels, decided to honour a commitment despite their founder's absence.

Last week, Mr Grant told The Scotsman: "He has been going through a lot of bad times. The sad thing is they're things only he can solve.

"His demons have been bothering him and there has been a steady decline.

"We've all been doing our best to help him."

Some reports suggested that Adamson's disappearance had been triggered by a split from his second wife, Melanie Shelley. The two had been married for five years and were partners in a hairdressing business.

Although born in Manchester, Adamson's roots were firmly in west Fife and the connection permeated his musical career.

Along with Jobson – a local miner's son – his other major collaborator, Big Country's Bruce Watson, was employed as a cleaner on submarines at Rosyth naval base.

Most of the original musicians in both bands were from the area.

Bill Simpson, the Skids' bassist, went to Beath High School with Adamson and as teenagers the two honed their musical talents in the Adamson family home at Crossgates.

Mr Simpson, who said his thoughts were with Adamson's parents and family, recalled how the two got into music.

"When we started out, we were playing in Crossgates, at the Institute. We had a band called Tattoo, mucking about covering songs by Bowie, Roxy Music or Status Quo, just doing cover versions.

"We had some great laughs touring round, going to pubs and clubs all over Scotland , as far as Kinloss and Lossiemouth.

"Then the Skids evolved, punk kicked in at the right time, and we were the first local punk band. We picked up a following and a name quickly."

According to Jobson, Adamson was "always the rock that made the Skids a credible and imaginative force. He was passionate and obstinate and an inspiring good friend."

After the Skids split, Adamson quickly bounced back. Big Country's 1983 debut The Crossing sold more than three million copies and earned them two Grammy nominations, and a string of successful singles and albums followed.

Often presented as a rather aloof character by his record company, Adamson was friendly and popular, "a world away from the po-faced character we created for Big Country", according to Mr Grant. In 1996, Adamson settled in Nashville, where he hoped to develop his career in country and western with the Raphaels. However, he remained deeply attached to his Fife home, where he met his first wife, Sandra. They had two children, Callum and Kirsten, and his parents still live locally.

He was also a great football fan. The Skids song Into the Valley is played when Dunfermline Athletic take the field.

Mr Grant said Adamson loved being a musician "but when push comes to shove, I think he would rather have been a footballer".

 
 
 

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