Bay City Rollers frontman Les McKeown has died at age 65.
"It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of our beloved husband and father Leslie Richard McKeown," his family announced on Twitter on Thursday, April 22. "Leslie died suddenly at home on Tuesday."
His cause of death was not disclosed.
McKeown was best known as the singer of the Scottish bubble-gum glam band in the '70s. He joined the group when he was 18 to replace the original singer, Gordon "Nobby" Clark, in 1973.
The Edinburgh-born band is best known for their tartan outfits and are largely credited with popularizing boybands, which are still a pinnacle of the music industry today.
Their hits include a cover of the Four Seasons' "Bye Bye Baby" as well as "Shang-a-Lang" and "Summerlove Sensation."
Their success in the U.S. is due in part to a big push from Clive Davis, who was the head of their state-side label Arista Records. Their breakthrough single was "Saturday Night," which did not chart back home in the U.K. but hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
McKeown left the Rollers in 1978 at age 22, and the group took on a more new-wave sound; however, he still partook in various reunion tours.
After the Rollers, McKeown pursued a solo career, which was made up of nine albums but he found the most fame in Japan. His last album was The Lost Songs in 2016 and was comprised of songs he wrote in the '70s when the Bay City Rollers were touring.
In 1975, McKeown was found guilty of reckless driving after he hit and killed a 76-year-old woman, Euphemia Clunie, while home in Edinburgh. At the time he was banned from driving for a year and was fined before he rejoined the band's tour the following day. He was arrested again for drunk driving in 2005 before he got sober once and for all in 2008.
McKeown is survived by his wife, Peko Keiko, and their son, Jubei.
Scroll down to see the reactions to McKeown's passing.
One fan recalled being obsessed with the band and dug out old memories.
"As a child of the 1970s, I'm not ashamed to say I adored The Bay City Rollers," one devastated fan lamented.
Shocked & saddened to hear #LesMcKeown has died suddenly. Lead singer & legendary, cheeky heartthrob of #TheBayCityRollers, he captured young hearts like few others ever did & across the globe tonight thousands of middle-aged Mums will be shedding tears. pic.twitter.com/XW6ZDXJmfp— Martin Knight (@MartinKnight_) April 22, 2021
Author Martin Knight recalled the "cheeky heartthrob" who "captured young hearts" at the peak of their career.
Gutted to hear about the passing of Les McKeown. Difficult to comprehend how an 18yr old could've coped with such a level of superstardom. Over 120 million record sales, topped the charts in nearly every record-selling country in the world. Not bad for a boy from Broomhouse #RIP pic.twitter.com/NDcNpodSUV— YourWullie (@YourWullie) April 22, 2021
One fan found it "difficult to comprehend how an 18yr old could've coped with such a level of superstardom" with more than 120 million record sales and chart-topping hits.
'Bye Bye Baby'
Another fan reflected on how "Bay City Rollers posters took pride of place on my childhood bedroom wall."
Biggest Pop Group In The World
RIP Les McKeown, lead singer of the Bay City Rollers, once the biggest pop group in the world.— Stars and Cars (@Superstar_Cars) April 22, 2021
Here’s a typical scene from June ‘76, when the Rollers’ limo was engulfed by tartan clad fans outside CHUM FM, Toronto.
Rest in Peace Les, sending love and thoughts to your family. pic.twitter.com/SvvOAhqWiy
One user showed a "typical scene from June '76 when the Rollers' limo was engulfed by tartan clad fans."