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Last Updated: Friday, 10 August 2007, 21:36 GMT 22:36 UK
Anthony Wilson dies from cancer
Anthony Wilson
Anthony Wilson was an influential figure in the "Madchester" scene
Anthony Wilson, the music mogul behind some of Manchester's most successful bands, has died aged 57.

The Salford-born entrepreneur, who founded Factory records, the label behind New Order and the Happy Mondays, had been suffering from kidney cancer.

Wilson, who was also famous for setting up the Hacienda nightclub, underwent emergency surgery in January to remove a kidney.

He died on Friday evening at the Christie Hospital surrounded by family.

A spokesman for the hospital said: "Tony Wilson died peacefully at the Christie Hospital at 6.05pm this evening with his family by his bedside.

Part of me, part of Manchester, part of modern British music has died tonight
Phil Saxe

"Tony was a very great supporter of the Christie and this is extremely sad news.

"We would like to extend our sympathy to Tony's family."

Doctors had recommended he take the drug Sutent after chemotherapy failed to beat the disease, but the NHS refused to fund the 3,500-a-month treatment.

However, members of the Happy Mondays and other acts he supported over the years stepped in and started a fund to help pay for it.

His vision and determination played a key role in helping to put Manchester on the map for its music and vibrant nightlife and his entrepreneurial skills inspired people everywhere.

Phil Saxe, who used to work at Factory Records with Wilson, said: "Part of me, part of Manchester, part of modern British music has died tonight.

"Tony was a genius, basically.

"He was a visionary in that he helped bands, who otherwise wouldn't have made it, who were a bit out of the ordinary.

"He helped them realise their dreams and through that probably realised himself to be Mr Manchester".

'An inspiration'

BBC journalist Kristan Deconinck sought advice from him in the early 1980s on how to launch an independent record label shortly after Wilson had started Factory records.

"He couldn't have been more helpful and more patient," Kristan said.

"He inspired me - and countless others - to have a go if you believed in something.

A true music legend. He saw in bands what others missed. A real loss to the music world and all the 24hr party people.
Scott, Glasgow

"That in itself is a great legacy, apart from the vision he had with his label, his shows, his attitude - his contribution to a new culture.

"When I later met him, I found him far more amenable than scurrilous rumours had led me to believe and my esteem for the guy never diminished."

'Soundtrack of my life'

Speaking before his death, Wilson reflected on life and death.

"I used to joke in my early 50s that I'd had such a fantastic life, I'd be happy to die," he said.

"And then suddenly, I find some other reasons for living and just like get excited again about life when it comes along. So that was slightly annoying. I think I was a lord of my own presumption for thinking I'd be happy to die".

Rest in peace mate
Ross Burton, fan

Tributes to Anthony Wilson have been flooding in from across the globe - both from people who had worked with him and those who had enjoyed the entertainment he brought to the world.

Speaking on News 24, Radio 2 presenter Stuart Maconie said: "There was no more influential and important figure in music in the last 30 or 40 years.

"He was incredibly generous, giving, enthusiastic and supportive of bands around him.

"He wasn't a businessman. He just loved the music."

The BBC, which employed Wilson, paid its own tribute.

"There will never be anyone quite like Tony," a spokesman said. "He was a true free spirit and a passionate advocate of Manchester - the city, its people and, of course, its music."

Fan Lewis Hart, from Hyde, Greater Manchester, wrote: "A one off who was an ambassador for Manchester. A huge shock."

Another fan, Ross Burton, from Annapolis, Maryland, in the USA, summed up his many achievements with a poignant eulogy: "Thanks Tony for helping to bring me the soundtrack of my life. Rest in peace mate."


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