THE lead singer of the Troggs, Reg Presley, has passed away at home following a battle with lung cancer.
• Presley rose to fame for hits including Wild Thing and With A Girl Like You
• REM and Wet Wet Wet covered Love Is All Around in 1990s
The 71-year-old, best known for the 1960s hit Wild Thing, died at his home in Andover surrounded by his friends and family, close friend and music publicist Keith Altham said.
He announced the death of his “dear old pal” on his Facebook page, adding that the singer had recently suffered a number of strokes.
He said: “He was one very real person in a sometimes very unreal world. Our thoughts are with his wife, Brenda, and the family and those legion of fans who loved his music and his band. I will miss him hugely.”
Presley founded The Troggs in the 1960s and the band became famous with Wild Thing, and later With A Girl Like You and I Can’t Control Myself. His career received a boost in the mid-1990s when first REM and then Wet Wet Wet covered their 1967 hit Love Is All Around.
Presley, who was born in Andover, only stopped touring in 2012 after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
In his later years, the singer-songwriter was known for his interest in the paranormal, including crop circles and UFOs. He used his royalties from the cover of Love Is All Around to fund research into crop circles and outlined his findings in the book Wild Things They Don’t Tell Us, published in October 2002.
Presley’s daughter, Karen, confirmed her father’s death to music website WENN. She told the website: “He passed away peacefully at home and myself, my brother and our mother were with him. We’re absolutely heartbroken.”
Presley announced to fans that he was suffering from lung cancer in January last year after being taken ill at a gig in Germany.
He said: “As you all know, I was taken ill whilst doing a gig in Germany in December. During my stay in hospital, tests showed that in fact I have lung cancer. I am receiving chemotherapy treatment and at the moment not feeling too bad. However I’ve had to call time on The Troggs and retire. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the cards and calls and for your love, loyalty and support over the years.”