Manager of boy bands Bros and East 17 Tom Watkins dies age 70

Tom Watkins, best known as the manager behind boy bands Bros, East 17 and the Pet Shop Boys, has died at the age of 70.

Watkins was said to have suffered a series of health issues in recent years, including strokes, a liver transplant and diabetes.

After setting up Massive Management in the eighties, Watkins helped launch the careers of some of the UK's best loved pop acts.

He first work with Pet Shop Boys in 1984, who under his management released twelve singles, including their four No 1 hits: West End Girls, It’s a Sin, Always on My Mind and Heart.

Two years later, Watkins signed trio Matt and Luke Goss and Craig Logan – better known as Bros – to his management company.

With the help of songwriter and producer Nicky Graham, Watkins co-wrote their biggest hit When Will I Be Famous?

He also masterminded Bros' image – from the short bleached hair to the biker jackets.

Recalling how the band's iconic look was masterminded, Graham said: "I wanted everything to be very pop. The twins were beautiful and I kept thinking of James Dean when I looked at them. When Tom met them, the first thing he said was, ‘No way! You need to have short hair. You need to look like James Dean in the 1955 film East of Eden."

Watkins then had another success story with East 17 who he signed in 1992. The band landed the coveted Christmas No 1 in 1994 with Stay Another Day and went on to have a further nine Top 10 singles under Massive Management.

He also managed several less successful bands including Faith Hope & Charity and Deuce, which starred Ant McPartlin's ex wife Lisa Armstrong.

In July 2016, Watkins released his autobiography detailing his ups and downs in the industry, which he titled: Let's Make Lots of Money: Secrets of a Rich, Fat, Gay, Lucky B*****d.

Watkins' friends confirmed to the Guardian that he died on 24 February with his funeral taking place on 10 March.

No cause of death has been given.

Watkins is survived by his partner Marc.

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