Peter Stringfellow dies aged 77 after cancer battle

Peter Stringfellow at the opening of The Syndicate nightclub. / blackpool
Peter Stringfellow at the opening of The Syndicate nightclub. / blackpool
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Nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow has died at the age of 77 after a battle with cancer.

The businessman, who had wanted to keep his illness private, died in the early hours of Thursday morning after spending time in hospital, a spokesman said.

Peter Stringfellow pictured in 1999 with Blackpool nightclub entrepreneur, Michelle Nordwind

Peter Stringfellow pictured in 1999 with Blackpool nightclub entrepreneur, Michelle Nordwind

A statement issued by his publicist, Matt Glass, says: "Legendary nightclub owner, Peter Stringellow has passed away at the age of 77, after a battle with cancer.

"He leaves behind his beloved wife, Bella and four children, Karen, Scott, Rosabella and Angelo. He was also grandfather to Taylor, Jaime, Thomas and Isabelle.

"Known as the King of Clubs, Peter will be remembered for his flamboyant style, charismatic personality and for being a magnet for celebrities across the planet, with A-list stars across six decades flocking to perform and party at his various clubs around the world.

"His eponymous London club, on Upper St Martins Lane, is one of the capital’s longest-running nightlife venues after opening in 1980, and will continue to operate as normal.

"The family asks for privacy at this difficult time."

In an additional comment to the Press Association, his publicist added: "It's very sad news. He passed away in the early hours of this morning. It was kept very private, he didn't want to tell. He wanted to keep it a secret."

Stringfellow started in the nighttime trade in the early 1960s and recalled booking acts including The Beatles, The Kinks and Jimi Hendrix to play at his clubs.

Peter Stringfellow in 2006 with dancers Ali (left to right), Shannon, Jessie and Hazel during a photocall in his new Stringfellows Club in Dublin.

Peter Stringfellow in 2006 with dancers Ali (left to right), Shannon, Jessie and Hazel during a photocall in his new Stringfellows Club in Dublin.

In 1980 he opened Stringfellows in Covent Garden in London's West End and went on to create venues in Paris, New York, Miami, and Beverly Hills.

With its topless girls and exuberant after-hours entertainment, the Stringfellow brand became a byword for debauchery and sexual kicks that had echoes of the empire created by late Playboy magnate Hugh Hefner.

The mogul said his clubs had hosted A-listers including Prince, Marvin Gaye, Rod Stewart and Tom Jones.

And it was not just celebrities who experienced Stringfellow's hospitality - Professor Stephen Hawking once joined him for dinner at one of the venues.

Born in Sheffield in 1940, Stringfellow was the eldest of four boys who were brought up by the women in his family after the men went to war.

He served a brief prison sentence in 1962 for selling stolen carpets, a sharp lesson which he said put him on the straight and narrow.

In a 2012 article for The Guardian he attributed his entrepreneurial spirit to his "feisty" mother.

He said sex was never a topic of conversation in the house, while his father declined an invitation to visit one of his establishments in his later years.

Stringfellow underwent treatment for lung cancer after being diagnosed in 2008.

However he kept the diagnosis a secret for nearly six years, telling only family and close friends, until it was leaked in 2015.

Married three times and a grandfather four times over, Stringfellow is survived by his wife, Bella and four children, Karen, Scott, Rosabella and Angelo.

BBC Radio presenter Tony Blackburn tweeted a tribute to Stringfellow.

He wrote: "So sorry to hear that Peter Stringfellow has died at the age of 77.

"He was a terrific guy who lived life to the full and was a wonderful person to be with. He was always full of fun and to me was a big part of he 60's and 70's. R.I.P. Peter x."