Pet Shop Boys pay tribute to former manager Tom Watkins, who has died aged 70

"Today we sent flowers to his funeral with the message: 'Thanks for five Massive years'."

Former Pet Shop Boys manager Tom Watkins has died at the age of 70.

Watkins passed away on February 24, his friends confirmed (via The Guardian). His funeral took place earlier today (March 10).

A cause of death has not yet been announced, though Watkins had suffered from strokes, a liver transplant and diabetes in recent years.

Watkins began managing Pet Shop Boys – aka Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe – back in 1984. Under his guidance, they released their number one singles ‘West End Girls’, ‘It’s A Sin’, ‘Always on My Mind’ and ‘Heart’.

Paying tribute on Twitter this evening, Tennant wrote: “Chris and I were sad to learn that our first manager Tom Watkins has died after being ill for several years. I first met Tom in 1975 and then a decade later he became our manager.”

The singer went on to hail Watkins as “a genuine larger-than-life personality”, explaining that he “remained his friend for several years but for various reasons long-term friendship with Tom wasn’t possible.”

Tennant added: “However Chris and I will always be grateful for his efforts on our behalf in the early days of our career and we have many memories of fun times with him back then. Today we sent flowers to his funeral with the message: ‘Thanks for five Massive years’. Neil x”

Watkins went on to work with ’80s pop outfit Bros, co-writing their hits ‘When Will I Be Famous?’, ‘I Owe You Nothing’ and ‘Drop The Boy’.

In the following decade, Watkins managed East 17 who received a total of 11 Top 10 singles, including their Christmas track ‘Stay Another Day’.

Watkins released an autobiography in 2016 called Let’s Make Lots of Money: Secrets of a Rich, Fat, Gay, Lucky Bastard.