He'd also worked with Elton John, Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix
May said: “So sad that our wonderful tour manager for many years Gerry Stickells passed away this morning. Lost for words. RIP GERRY. Love ya. Thanks for everything.”
Taylor also penned an emotional tribute and described Stickells as “the world’s greatest tour manager” whilst revealing that he’d passed away “after a long struggle with illness.”
He added: “He was more than a tour manager to Queen – he was a father figure, great friend and teacher and an island of calm in the midst of chaos. He had a profound effect on my life, all of it good.
“From his early days with Jimi Hendrix through all the years with Queen and Paul McCartney, Gerry was THE MAN! We will miss him greatly and send love to Sylvia and the family at this difficult time.”
You can see some of the tributes below:
Stickells was diagnosed with a brain tumour sixteen years ago after suffering a seizure whilst on tour with Paul McCartney. Since the diagnosis, he had reportedly suffered “multiple health issues” associated with the disease according to a GoFundMe page that sought to raise funds to help with his treatment and care.
A post on the page read: “We are reaching out to anyone who knew him, whose lives he touched and to those who have a generous heart. We believe in humanity and the good in all of us. Gerry Stickells gave his all to everyone and now we want to give back to him.”
One of ten children, Stickells became an influential figure in the modern touring industry after he became Jimi Hendrix’s driver in 1966. He worked with the musician until Hendrix’s death after which he went on to develop Queen’s ambitious live productions.
As reported in Ultimate Classic Rock, Sickells was quoted in 1980 as saying: “You do this sort of thing for the money as much as anything, but if it’s a tour that’s going to make life particularly difficult, I’d rather not.
“I don’t think that the logistical problems are what makes this work hard to do. After all, it’s your job to deal with them. The hardest thing is dealing with the personalities involved, but once you become used to artists’ moods, you can usually stay a step ahead. And I don’t spend too much time listening to the music. I’m too wrapped up in the practical matters.”
Speaking of Stickells, Journey’s tour manager Pat Morrow said: “The hallmark of his work is his presence as a human being.”
He added: “He would get the best out of his people. You couldn’t help but love him and work hard for him. There is no way to overstate Gerry’s influence and importance to the live event industry. To realise he did it in the dark days of Hendrix’s time is even more impressive…[Stickells] pioneered the idea that a production manager needs to be five months, five weeks, five days and five minutes ahead of everyone else.”
Stickells was also awarded a prestigious Parnelli Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 for his work.