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Subject: Tenor Kenneth McKellar dies aged 82

Written By: Philip Eno on 04/10/10 at 11:38 am

Scottish tenor Kenneth McKellar has died at the age of 82 after a very short illness.

Mr McKellar passed away at the home of his daughter Jane, in Lake Tahoe in the United States.

The singer was known for his recordings of Scots songs, particularly those of Robert Burns, and appeared in musicals, on television and on radio.

Jane McKellar, 46, said her father had died just one week after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

She added: "It was very, very sudden and very fast, so it came as quite a shock to all of us.

"But he kept very, very spirited and funny and warm right through to the end, so that was a blessing.

"I hope people will remember him for the breadth of the music he made. He also had a great sense of humour.

"He was a very private person, so for someone who spent so much time in the public eye, when he was off-stage he was an intensely private person."

Mr McKellar, whose wife Hedy died in 1990, was born in Paisley in 1927 and graduated from Aberdeen University with a BSc in Forestry before studying at the Royal College of Music in London.

He had a long association with record company Decca and in the early sixties was the tenor soloist in Decca's recording of Handel's Messiah.

The tenor appeared in musicals and made regular BBC TV and radio broadcasts, which attracted a huge following. He also represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1966.

During his career he toured the world to perform and had fans as far afield as Australia and Canada.

A family spokesman said: "His singing seemed effortless and concealed the huge talent which made it so.

"Those who knew him best remember a man of great humour, a man who could not bear pretentiousness and who, although not one to suffer fools gladly, was totally without conceit.

"No-one is irreplaceable but it is unlikely that there will ever be another Kenneth McKellar."

Paying tribute to Mr McKellar, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said: "As well as being an outstanding entertainer with a magnificent voice, he also had a deep commitment to helping the careers of young performers.

"It should also be remembered that Kenneth McKellar commanded a huge international audience, and took the songs of Scotland worldwide. He is a great loss to music and the country, and will be sorely missed both at home and abroad."

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