Singer Doc Neeson of The Angels Dies at 67
Lead singer Doc Neeson, of Australian rock band The Angels, has died of brain cancer at the age of 67.
His death comes after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour in January last year.
A post on the singer’s Facebook page confirmed his passing this morning.
‘He has battled with a brain tumour for the last 17 months and sadly lost his fight this morning,’ it read.
‘He will be deeply missed by his family and partner Annie Souter who would all like to thank everyone for their support through this dark time.
Neeson’s children Dzintra, Daniel, Aidan and Kieran and wife Annie also posted tributes on the page.
‘We love you Dad. You couldn’t have made any of your sons more proud of you if you tried. May your beautiful soul rest in peace sweet angel, fly high.’ wrote Dzintra, Daniel, Aidan and Kieran.
‘Good Night, Sweet Prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.’ With love forever, Annie – borrowed from William Shakespeare – Hamlet.
Angels drummer Buzz Bidstrup took to Facebook, posting: ‘It is with deep sadness that we say goodbye to Bernard ‘Doc’ Neeson today. He left this world early this morning and I join music lovers everywhere in mourning this great man.’
The Angels’ frontman revealed on the ABC’s Australian Story last month that he was suffering from a brain tumour.
‘The news is grim, but some people can get through this, and that’s the way I try to think about things,’ he said during the interview.
‘So I’m looking forward optimistically to the future.’
He said he was determined to keep going playing music.
‘When somebody puts a use by date on me, but I still hung on to a shred of hope that I’d get back on the stage at some point’ he said.
The singer was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1947 and migrated to Adelaide, Australia with his family when he was 13-years old.
His first band was the Moonshine Jug and String Band with John and Rick Brewster.
In 1976, Neeson and the Brewsters became The Angels and released their debut single Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again in 1976.
Neeson left the band in 1999.
He went on to form Red Phoenix with David Lowy, Peter Northcote, Jim Hilburn and Fab Omodel.
Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett led the tributes on Wednesday as fans flooded social media with condolences.
Garret called Neeson a ‘big man with a huge heart’, adding ‘A mighty talent … You showed us how.’
Screaming Jets bassist Paul Woseen said he was sad to hear the news but feared the worst after last seeing Neeson about six months ago.
‘The last time I saw him he looked worse than the time before – it looked like the end was imminent,’ he said.
Woseen revealed his favourite memory of Neeson was a classic pose of holding a towel above his head with sweat pouring off him during a gig.
However, he says away from the stage Neeson was a different person.
‘He was quiet but friendly … You do put on a different sort of `suit’ so to speak before you hit the stage.’
After news broke of Neeson’s passing, The Angels started trending on Twitter as many users paid their respects.
Fans hailed the Irish-born performer as a true showman and a member of Australian rock royalty.
Others fondly remembered listening to the bands’ string of hits in the late 70s and 80s.
‘Most potent memory of young suburban life was watching The Angels blow the roof off Blacktown RSL sometime early 80s,’ Adrian Michaels tweeted.
Another tweeter recounted a story of Neeson stopping to carefully listen to a friend’s original guitar composition while he busked on the street.