Heartfelt tributes paid to ‘Original Roller’

LOS ANGELES - CIRCA 1975: Scottish rock band 'The Bay City Rollers' pose for a portrait in circa 1975 in Los Angeles, California. (L-R) Derek Longmuir, Eric Faulkner, Alan Longmuir, Leslie Mckeown and Stuart 'Woody' Wood. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - CIRCA 1975: Scottish rock band 'The Bay City Rollers' pose for a portrait in circa 1975 in Los Angeles, California. (L-R) Derek Longmuir, Eric Faulkner, Alan Longmuir, Leslie Mckeown and Stuart 'Woody' Wood. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
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Devastated bandmates of Bay City Rollers star Alan Longmuir have led worldwide tributes to the fallen star after he lost his battle with a rare bug contracted on holiday

The 70-year-old passed away at 6am at the Forth Valley Hospital in Stirling yesterday surrounded by loved ones after being flown home from Mexico by air ambulance three weeks ago.

The Edinburgh-born star had contracted a bug while on holiday with his wife Eileen in the resort of Cancun.

The former bassist spent three days fighting for life in intensive care in early June as the virus attacked his vital organs, but having been stabilised by doctors he arrived home with wife Eileen at his side.

Longmuir formed the rollers with brother Derek, and went on to become international sensations with chart-topping hits including Bye Bye Baby and Shang-a-Lang.

Longmuir’s family issued a statement confirming the news he had died early on Sunday morning.

It read: “We are devastated to share the news that Alan has passed away peacefully surrounded by his family.

“He was an extraordinary man with an extraordinary heart.

“He brought so much love and kindness to everyone he met, and he leaves a huge hole in our family.“

The statement added: “He would humbly say he was ‘just a plumber from Edinburgh who got lucky’

“However, we are lucky ones; the ones that were lucky enough to have Alan as part of our lives.

“We’d like to thank everyone for the love and support that they have provided so far. We would now like to make a firm request to allow us to mourn Alan’s passing in private.”

Rollers frontman Les McKeown led the tributes to his former bandmate with a simple tweet of a picture of Alan with the word “RIP” and his date of birth and death with a message of condolence that read: “Alan Longmuir, the original Bay City Roller.”

McKeown describedhow he had been with Alan, his friend of nearly 50 years, at Forth Valley Hospital just a few hours before he died.

He said: “I was there until 2am this morning, then the nurse said they had better call the family, so we left. Derek very kindly told me just after 6am that he had sadly passed away.

“He was a true original, one of a kind. He will be sorely missed by many, many people.”

During their career the Bay City Rollers sold 120 million records, finding success in the UK, US, Australia and Japan.

Longmuir initially quit the band at the height of their fame in 1976, just months after they topped the charts in the US with Saturday Night.

In 2015, he opened up about the pressure he faced as a part of an internationally recognised act. The band finally split in 1978, but bitter wrangling over money continued on for several years afterwards.

Guitarist Stuart “Woody” Wood said: “Very sad to read in the paper that Alan has passed away...I’ll remember the good times we had for over 40 years...RIP Al.”

Longmuir rejoined the group for a one-off concert at the Edinburgh Hogmanay party in 1999.

He also returned to the stage in 2014 to appear in a show based on his life – I Ran With The Gang – at the Edinburgh Fringe, which featured some of the band’s biggest hits.

The show was due to return to the festival this year.

Liam Rudden, arts correspondent of our sister paper the Edinburgh Evening News, who wrote and directed the play, said: “Having worked closely with Alan for the last few years I am devastated that he has left us.

“He was one of the most gentle, generous and kind-hearted people I have ever known.”