Pete Shelley, the lead singer and guitarist for pioneering British punk rockers the Buzzcocks, died Thursday. He was 63.
The musician’s death was confirmed “with great sadness” by the band’s official Twitter account.
“Pete’s music has inspired generations of musicians over a career that spanned five decades and with his band and as a solo artist, he was held in the highest regard by the music industry and by his fans around the world,” the statement read.
The BBC reports Shelley died of a suspected heart attack at his home in Estonia.
Shelley’s trailblazing Buzzcocks formed in 1975, after the singer met Howard Devoto at the University of Bolton near his hometown of Manchester.
The band released its first EP in 1977 after opening for the Sex Pistols a year prior at the band’s highly influential Manchester gig in June 1976.
Devoto parted ways with the Buzzcocks in ’77, leaving room for Shelley to step to the forefront and take the reins as lead singer and songwriter.
With Shelley as leading man, the band released three studio albums together, with their signature track, Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve) topping NME’s list of songs for the year in 1978.
Buzzcocks split in 1981, launching a successful solo career for Shelley, who released his debut album Sky Yen in 1980, though it’d been recorded six years earlier.
After pushing out a string of albums throughout the ’80s, Shelley reunited with the Buzzcocks in 1989, and they released their first new music together in 1993, with the album Trade Test Transmissions.
The band has stayed busy in the years since, releasing an additional five albums together, the most recent coming in 2014, and embarking on tours.
Shelley’s death was met with heartache from his fellow rockers, including Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock.
“I am totally shocked and saddened to just hear of the untimely death of Pete Shelley,” Matlock wrote on Twitter.
“A superb songwriter, artist and a totally sweet hearted guy who was one of the very few originals of punk and even a one off within that. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
Peter Hook, co-founder of Joy Division and New Order, also took to Twitter to remember his old pal.
“Pete Shelley – a true gent!” he wrote. “He helped us so much at the start of our career out of a sheer love for all things punk. Without Pete & the Buzzcocks I would probably still be working at the docks.” – Tribune News Service