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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 August 2007, 08:30 GMT 09:30 UK
Founder of US punk club CBGB dies
Hilly Kristal
Kristal originally set the club up to showcase country music
Hilly Kristal, founder of the New York punk club CBGB which is credited with discovering Patti Smith and The Ramones, has died at the age of 75.

His daughter, Lisa, said he died from complications arising from lung cancer.

Kristal founded the club in 1973. The venue lost its lease last year after a dispute over rising rents.

In a statement, Marky Ramone of The Ramones, said Kristal was an "integral part" of the punk scene, and was always "supportive" of the genre.

"In an era when disco was the mainstream, Hilly took a chance and gambled. The gamble paid off for both him and for us. We are all grateful to him and will miss him," he added.

Born in 1932, Kristal became a concert violinist at the age of nine. He went on to manage New York jazz club, the Village Vanguard, before opening CBGB in a derelict bar in East Village in 1973.

The venue, whose full title CBGB OMFUG stood for 'country, bluegrass, blues and other music for uplifting gourmandisers', was originally launched to showcase country music.

Instead the club became a breeding ground for punk rock.

Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls, who first played CBGB in the late 1980s, said: "So many bands would have never have made records unless they came to CBGB."

Outside the CBGB  Club
Fans have left tributes to him outside the Manhattan club

The club's final shows, in October last year, featured Patti Smith and Blondie's Debbie Harry.

Lenny Kaye, a longtime member of the Patti Smith Group said: "He created a club that started on a small, out-of-the-way skid row, and saw it go around the world."

"Everywhere you travel around the world, you saw somebody wearing a CBGB T-shirt," he said.

"He wanted the club to survive him," his daughter Lisa Kristal Burgman said. "He is survived by the fans and bands that played there."

A private memorial service is planned, with a public memorial service expected sometime in the future.

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