December 30, 2009 / 7:28 PM / in 8 years

Steeleye Span's Tim Hart dies at age 61

LONDON (Reuters) - Tim Hart, one of the founder members of British folk-rock group Steeleye Span, has died of lung cancer, the band’s record company said on Wednesday.

Hart, 61, died on Dec 24 in the home he had made in Spain’s Canary Islands after retiring from the music scene in the 1980s, John Dagnell, managing director of independent label Park Records in England told Reuters.

“Tim died on Christmas Eve. It is a sad loss. It came as a shock to us as we did not realise his illness was so far advanced,” Dagnell said.

Hart, who had devoted the latter part of his life to photography, was diagnosed with lung cancer a year ago.

Steeleye Span, best known for the hit records “All Around My Hat” and “Gaudete”, was formed in 1969 when Hart and singer Maddy Prior teamed up with ex-Fairport Convention bass player Ashley Hutchings.

The band made more than 12 albums before most of its members went their separate ways in the late 1980s but they reformed, without Hart, for UK tours in 2006 and for a 40th anniversary tour in 2009.

Hart performed with Maddy Prior in England in October 2008 and Park Records has been working on a re-release of his 1981 album of nursery rhymes.

Hart devoted his life to wild-life photography after moving to the small Canary Island of La Gomera in the late 1980s. His work as a photographer included putting together an English guidebook for tourists.

“In what now feels like a previous life, I once spent sixteen years as a member of the English folk-rock band Steeleye Span,” Hart wrote on his web site.

“As the Everly Brothers so rightly sang ‘We did it for the stories we could tell’. But after a few years of travelling too-fast around the world I got myself a camera, a Pentax Spotmatic, in order to provide a more substantial, and accurate, archive of memories.”

Reporting by Jill Serjeant

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