Singers Christy Moore and Frances Black last night led tributes to the man who wrote their first number one hits.
The popular singer-songwriter Christie Hennessy passed away in London yesterday after an illness understood to be linked to his time working on building sites in Britain.
The Kerry-born musician became a best-selling artist in his own right in his later years but in his early years as a musician he achieved success primarily as a songwriter. He wrote 'Don't Forget Your Shovel' for Christy Moore, a song that the famous Kildareman credits as being central to his later success.
"News has come from London that Christie Hennessy passed on during the night," Mr Moore said on his website.
"Most beautiful of men. Family man, wonderful friend, writer and singer of magical songs. May he rest in peace."
Mr Hennessy also wrote a number one song, 'Oh Jealous Heart', for Marie Brennan of Clannad, and later saw Frances Black take 'All the lies that you told me' to the top of the charts.
"His songs painted really beautiful pictures," Ms Black said last night. "He was just a legend, an absolute legend."
Mr Hennessy, who was 62, passed away in a London hospice yesterday morning from asbestosis.
"It is with great sadness that we announce that Christie passed away this morning," a statement on his website read. "We just want you all to know how much Christie appreciated your love and support over the years. He will be sadly missed by all."
According to his manager Fran Cotton, Mr Hennessy could have contracted the disease when he worked on London building sites. The Tralee-born singer first moved to England and started working on the sites when he was 15. He was 23 when he wrote and released his first album, 'The Green Album', in 1972.
The father of three produced albums for the next 35 years, and also composed the theme tune and music for the BBC television series 'Get Well Soon', and composed and wrote a musical film about Ireland, 'Two Steps to Paradise'.
Mr Hennessy is survived by his wife, Jill, and grown-up children Hermione, Amber and Tim.