The nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow has died from cancer aged 77, his spokesman has said.
The British businessman, who kept his illness secret for many years, died in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Stringfellow had revealed in an interview with The Times in 2016 that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer eight years earlier.
Known as the “King of Clubs”, the entrepreneur opened a string of venues across the US and the UK.
The businessman’s club “Stringfellows” on Upper St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, is one of the longest-running nightlife venues in the capital since its launch in 1980.
Stringfellow, who was born and raised in Sheffield, went on to open venues in Paris, New York, Miami and Beverly Hills.
He worked in a meat factory before pursuing a career in nightlife in 1962, when he rented out a church in his hometown every Friday night.
The Beatles agreed to play there in 1963 and the demand for tickets was so great he had to rent out a bigger venue.
The same year he opened another club in Sheffield, the Blue Moon, which went on to host acts including The Kinks, Rod Stewart and Freddie Starr.
Stringfellow opened the King Mojo Club in Sheffield in 1964.
The likes of The Who, Pink Floyd, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Tina Turner performed there.
After stints running clubs in Leeds and Manchester, Stringfellow relocated to London in 1980 where he would open his eponymous venue.
The club was frequented by A-list movie stars, TV personalities, rock stars and models in the years that followed.The venue became notorious for its “Cabaret of Angels” table-side dancing nights, which operated three days a week.
With its topless women and exuberant after-hours entertainment, the Stringfellow brand became a byword for debauchery and sexual kicks that had echoes of the empire created by late Playboy magnate Hugh Hefner.
Stringfellow opened a second self-named club in New York in 1986, which like its London counterpart, served as a magnet for A-listers and media personalities.
The brand was introduced to Miami in 1989 and and Los Angeles a year later.
Tributes have poured in for the nightclub owner since his death on Thursday morning, with BBC Radio presenter Tony Blackburn calling him a “terrific guy who lived life to the full”.
Former boxing champion Frank Bruno said: “I met this man a few times over the years. A great guy & king of the discos. My thoughts are with his family.”
Comic Rufus Hound wrote: “RIP Peter Stringfellow. You’re with the angels now. So no change there.”
Stringfellow leaves behind his 35-year-old wife Bella Wright, and his four children Rosabella, Angelo, Scott and Karen.
He was also a grandfather to Taylor, Jamie, Thomas and Isabelle.
His publicist Matt Glass said: “It’s very sad news. He passed away in the early hours of this morning. It was kept very private, he didn’t want to tell. He wanted to keep it a secret.”
The businessman served a brief prison sentence in 1962 for selling stolen carpets, a lesson which he said put him on the straight and narrow.
In a 2012 article for The Guardian he attributed his entrepreneurial spirit to his “feisty” mother.
His father was a steelworker and Stringfellow was the eldest of four boys.
From – SkyNews