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Gene Pitney found dead in hotel

Hits included 'Town Without Pity,' 'He's a Rebel'

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Gene Pitney, pictured in 1965, had a career spanning 40 years.

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Gene Pitney
Pop music
Wales

LONDON, England -- American singer Gene Pitney, known for 1960s hits like "24 Hours from Tulsa," has died while on a UK concern tour, his agent said.

Pitney, 65, was found dead just after 10 a.m. Wednesday (0500 ET) at the Hilton Hotel in Cardiff, Wales.

His agent, Jene Levy, told Reuters Pitney died on Wednesday morning after given a concert in the Welsh capital the previous day.

There was no immediate word on the cause of death. Friends said he was in apparent good health and his death came as a shock.

South Wales police said they had been called to a hotel at 9:50 a.m. on Wednesday morning and that the death was not being treated as suspicious.

In addition to "24 Hours From Tulsa," Pitney's 40-year career included such as "It Hurts to Be in Love," "Every Breath I Take," "Town Without Pity," "Only Love Can Break a Heart" and the operatic "I'm Gonna Be Strong." His last U.S. hit was "She's a Heartbreaker" in 1968.

Pitney was found in his bed by his tour manager, Mark Hawes of In Touch Music told the BBC.

"He did a good show last night at St. David's Hall and it was wonderful," he said.

"I've seen him quite a few times on this tour and he was fit and well. He said it was the best tour he had done for quite a few years."

Pitney rose to fame in the 1960s and was introduced to a new generation of fans in 1989 when he recorded "Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart" as a duet with Marc Almond, the UK's Press Association reported.

The single gave Pitney his first UK number one -- 22 years after its first release, PA added.

He had 11 top 10 hits in the UK including "That Girl Belongs To Yesterday" and "Looking Thru The Eyes of Love."

His songs have been recorded by some of the world's biggest stars -- "Hello Mary Lou" was released by Ricky Nelson, "Today's Teardrops" by Roy Orbison, and "Rubber Ball" by U.S. singer Bobby Vee and British artist Marty Wilde. He also wrote the No. 1 Crystals hit "He's a Rebel"

He worked with the Rolling Stones and was credited with helping them find fame in the U.S., according to PA.

In 2002 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

A spokeswoman for Cardiff coroner Mary Hassell told PA she had been officially informed of the star's death. The spokeswoman said a post mortem examination will take place to establish whether an inquest will be necessary.

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