Musical comedy legend Frank Sidebottom passes away

Northern icon had been suffering from cancer

Musical comedy legend Frank Sidebottom has died, it has been revealed.

Sidebottom, real name Chris Sievey, was a northern institution, best known for the giant papier mache head cast that he wore while performing.

Sievey had been diagnosed with cancer last month and was recovering from an operation to remove a tumour. He collapsed at home today (June 21) and did not recover, according to the Manchester Evening News.

He specialised in surreal humour influenced by the northern cabaret circuit, and he would often perform songs on an organ. Although family-friendly, Sievey‘s jokes and his songs earned him cult status.

The Sidebottom act achieved its height in the ’80s, becoming closely associated with the Madchester scene, as he frequently appeared on television with the late Tony Wilson. Caroline Aherne‘s comedy character Mrs Merton started out as a guest character on a Sidebottom radio show.

Although he retreated into obscurity in the late ’90s, he was remained a cult icon, and as recently as 2008, he was still performing, appearing alongside The View at the 1965 Records Christmas party, performing casiotone covers of Arctic Monkeys and Morrissey songs.

Only last week he returned to action after the operation, launching a charity World Cup song called ‘Three Shirts On My Line’, in aid of cancer charities.