Engelbert Humperdinck has paid tribute to his “dear friend” following the death of songwriter Les Reed.
The hitmaker was best known for co-writing The Last Waltz, one of Humperdinck’s biggest ballads, as well as Delilah and It’s Not Unusual with Sir Tom Jones.
Reed’s family said he died aged 83 on Monday afternoon surrounded by his family and friends in a “room full of love and sunshine”.
In a written tribute to the Press Association, Humperdinck said: “This is a very emotional goodbye for so many.
“What a wonderful and genuine man he was, with magic in his fingertips and a tapestry of music woven into our lives, that came effortlessly from his imagination and delivered by the craft he had perfected.
“He was so instrumental in the music that started my life and continued to bless it.”
The singer, who said he had known Reed since 1958, called him a “gentleman” – adding that he was writing a tribute for the songwriter’s upcoming biography when he learned of his death.
“He helped me more than most anyone. When I was at my lowest he pulled me up and dusted me off,” Humperdinck said.
“I got back on my feet and he was the first debt I paid. I owe him more than I could ever repay but the music is a daily reminder of his gift and a life well lived by a man well loved.”
Reed’s family said in a statement: “We are all so immensely proud of everything Les achieved in his incredible lifetime.
“We know that his name will be remembered for what he did for music and that he will always live through his songs and compositions for the rest of time.
“We know that Les Reed’s legacy will live on but for now, There’s a Kind Of Hush (All Over The World).”
Posting a picture to Twitter, Sir Tom wrote: “Sorry to hear the news of the passing of my friend & colleague Les Reed.
“Les was a gifted songwriter who was instrumental in penning many a hit, incl two important songs for me; ‘It’s Not Unusual’ & ‘Delilah’ Les was a lovely man, whose legacy will live through his music. RIP Les.”
In November 1998, he received an OBE for his services to music from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace.
Broadcaster Tony Blackburn wrote on Twitter: “So sorry to hear that songwriter Les Reed has passed away. He was a very nice man and a very talented person R.I.P Les.”
The songwriter was also well known among football fans after co-composing Marching On Together, the anthem of Leeds United, which is still sung on the terraces at Elland Road stadium.
Alongside a picture, the football club’s official Twitter page wrote: “#LUFC are saddened to learn of the passing of Les Reed OBE, the co-writer of our club anthem, Marching on Together.
“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
Reed is survived by his daughter Donna and two grandsons, Alex and Dominic.