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Freddie and the Dreamers star dies

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Freddie Garrity is pictured second from right with his band in 1960s heyday.

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LONDON, England -- British pop star Freddie Garrity, former lead singer with 1960s band Freddie and the Dreamers, has died at the age of 69.

Garrity died on Friday in hospital in North Wales, his agent said on Saturday.

His five-piece band had hits in Britain and the United States with "I'm Telling You Now," "You Were Made For Me" and "Over You."

Garrity, who lived in Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire, was on holiday with his wife Christine when he was taken to hospital.

He had been suffering from emphysema for several years and had been unable to work since 2001.

Friends paid tribute to his memory. A family friend, Eric St. John-Foti, told the BBC: "He was so full of life, and full of jokes. He was exactly the same as he was on stage, he did not have two personas.

"It is a sad loss, Freddie was part of the 1960s and drew comparisons with the Beatles."

Born in Manchester, Freddie -- a former milkman -- came to prominence at the start of the British music revolution in the early 1960s and his success mirrored that of his Liverpool rivals.

But he became famous not just for his music but for his humorous approach to rock 'n' roll. His wild antics on stage and television endeared him to millions around the world.

Freddie's first single, a cover of the James Ray U.S. chart hit "If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody," gave him his first Top 10 success in the UK.

It was followed over the next two years by hits including "I'm Telling You Now," "You Were Made For Me," "Over You," "I Love You Baby" and "I Understand."

In 1965 Freddie and the Dreamers topped the U.S. charts with "I'm Telling You Now" which went on to sell over 1 million copies.

It was on an American television show shortly afterwards that Freddie was asked about his stage antics. "It's a dance," came the reply. "It's called the Freddie" -- and a dance sensation was born.

Within weeks, the band was back in the charts with a song called "Do The Freddie."

Freddie disbanded the original group in 1969 and concentrated on solo work. But the band reformed in 1976, touring the globe for the next 25 years.

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