Singer Kenneth McKellar dies, aged 82

SCOTTISH singer Kenneth McKellar has died after a short illness, his family said today.

The Paisley-born performer, perhaps most famous for his interpretation of the works of Robert Burns, was 82 years old.

McKellar was trained at the Royal College of Music in London but rose to prominence as a performer of Scots songs.

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He competed for the UK in the 1966 Eurovision Song Contest, performing 'A Man Without Love'.

Mr McKellar passed away at the home of his daughter Jane in Lake Tahoe in the USA, a family spokeswoman said.

Mr McKellar died a week after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

His daughter Jane McKellar, 46, said: "It was very, very sudden and very fast, so it came as quite a shock to all of us.

"But he kept very, very spirited and funny and warm right through to the end, so that was a blessing.

"I hope people will remember him for the breadth of the music he made. He also had a great sense of humour.

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"He was a very private person, so for someone who spent so much time in the public eye, when he was off-stage he was an intensely private person."

Mr McKellar was born in Paisley in 1927 and graduated from Aberdeen University with a BSc in Forestry before studying at the Royal College of Music in London.

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He had a long association with record company Decca and in the early sixties was the tenor soloist in Decca's recording of Handel's Messiah.

He appeared in musicals and also had regular BBC TV series and his radio broadcasts, which attracted a huge following.

Sir Sean Connery said: "Kenneth McKellar had a wonderful voice, but above all he was an outstanding human being, with a sparkling sense of humour.

"Kenneth was one of the earliest trustees of the Scottish International Education Trust, and I knew him for 40 years. He worked tirelessly in the interests of young artistic talent in Scotland, using his huge international profile to encourage young Scots to excel.

"Kenneth's death is an enormous loss to the nation, and above all of course to his family and friends, to whom I send my condolences."