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Billy Thorpe dies at 60

Added: 28 February 2007

The Eldest Statesman of Rock Royalty Dies at Age 60 - R.I.P. Billy Thorpe

Today the Australian music industry mourns the loss of one it's founding members of Aussie Rock, Mr Billy Thorpe. Billy Thorpe suffered an unheralded heart attack at home on 28 February 2007. Billy was taken by ambulance to St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney NSW Australia around 2am (AEDT) after suffering severe chest pains. He remained in the emergency ward in a serious condition and went into cardiac arrest around 2:30am. Hospital staff attempted to resuscitate him, but he did not recover. His family was by his side when he passed away.

Thorpe was 60 years old. He is survived by his wife Lynne, and daughters Rusty and Lauren.

"His family was with him when he passed away," a hospital spokesman has said on Channel 9. Thorpe's manager Michael Chugg has said the death is a "terrible tragedy", as Thorpe had just finished recording a new album and was very happy after a recent acoustic tour.

Billy was born on 29th March 1946 in Manchester England. He was the driving force behind the music documentary Long Way To The Top.

"What a shock Billy passing away is. I was only talking with Angry Anderson on Saturday afternoon about getting Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs over to WA for the Bon Scott Statue unveiling in February 2008", said Doug Thorncroft, President of the WA Bon Scott Fan Club. "I think the Foundations of Heaven will be rockin' with a Bon and Billy Duet".


From L-R: Angry Anderson, Pete Wells and Billy Thorpe at the Pete Wells
Benefit Concert on 6 September 2005.

Fellow rock icons and dignitaries expressed their admiration for Billy, saying he was an inspiration and would be remembered for his compassion.

"Billy Thorpe was one of the most incredible powerful strong people that I have ever met and he gave everything in his performances, in his song writing, in his relationship with his public, with the fellow musicians" - Michael Chugg

"He walked on stage and he was there, he had a charisma about him, he worked hard! He sang hard!" - Col Joye

"Billy was much more than a part of our industry. He was really a corner stone of our history. He was a catalyst for so many things" - Normie Rowe

"He was a wonderful contributor to the music industry. He supported Support Act Ltd. He helped organise benefit concerts when Pete Wells from Rose Tattoo was very sick and later passed away and he really had a real vitality and dynamism as a muso. He was an incredible singer - a really, really fine loud guitar player. He is going to be very, very sorely missed" - Peter Garrett

"He was a very distinctive figure in rock, he was a very capable guitarist, and the character of his music was peculiarly Australian" - John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia

As lead singer of "Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs", Billy talked to Vince Lovegrove about Bon in May 2006 for an up and coming article for Bon Scott's 60th Birthday on 9 July 2006, saying:

"Bon loved tough, loud hard rock and blues and was a huge fan of The Aztecs. Many nights I'd see him head banging in the wings or backstage grinning through the archway on to the stage at the Melbourne disco Berties. Bon's rock voice was different to the pop voice he used in The Valentines and he wanted to sing hard rock more than anything in the world. He drove me nuts about getting up and singing with The Aztecs. We finally let him up one night, and he sounded somewhere between a Banchee scream, fire truck siren and fingernails down a blackboard. But it was unique. He said to me afterwards, in that spitfire Scots way, "Thorpie, that was great. I love you guys. I'm gonna be in a band that rocks like you do one day".

R.I.P. Billy Thorpe (1946 - 2007) - the WA Bon Scott Fan Club Salutes You!


Billy Thorpe after being presented with the TV Week
LOGIE AWARD for the Best Performer in Australia for 1964.

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