The longtime manager of the Bee Gees and Eric Clapton died at 81, it was announced Monday.
Travolta, who starred in Stigwood’s productions Saturday Night Fever and Grease, expressed his condolences telling PEOPLE, “Robert changed the world and only for the better and he was certainly important to my career. His legacy lives on and he will forever be remembered.”
The Australian-born producer’s death was announced by his godson and Robin Gibb’s son Spencer on Facebook.
“I would like to share the sad news with you all, that my godfather, and the longtime manager of my family, Robert Stigwood, has passed away,” Gibb wrote. “A creative genius with a very quick and dry wit, Robert was the driving force behind The Bee Gees career, as well as having discovered Cream, and subsequently managing Eric Clapton. He was also of course, the creator of the movies Saturday Night Fever and Grease, and many Broadway musicals with Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.”
Adding: “I would like to thank Robert for his kindness to me over the years as well as his mentorship to my family. ‘Stiggy’, you will be missed.”
Gibb issued the following statement: “Robert Stigwood was an enigma. A victorian figure cast into the sixties to work with Brian Epstein and The Beatles. He hitch hiked from Adelaide to London with a powerful vision to rule the entertainment world. He was almost aristocratic in nature, the mixture of talent and insight from the moment you met him was omnipresent. He signed us as his group at a moment in time when groups were no longer being signed. The odds against us having success was very high but Robert took an act of faith and against the advice of others, became our manager. He also became a member of our family and all the success we had was because of Robert Stigwood. On behalf of Linda and our family we wish you god speed. Every time the first of May comes around I will think of you and I will miss your phone call. We shared so many wonderful moments. I will never forget you my dear friend.”
In the late-60’s, Stigwood began his career as the booking agent for The Who and promoter for Cream, a rock group featuring Clapton on guitar. In 1967, Stigwood went on to manage The Bee Gees after listening to their demo tape, recommended by Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein.
That same year, Stigwood expanded his music empire and formed his company Robert Stigwood Organisation, which promoted artists such as Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart and David Bowie. RSO also managed composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who created mega-successful Broadway musicals including “Hair” and “Pippin.” Inspired by film and musicals, Stigwood helped create the soundtracks for 1977’s Saturday Night Fever and Grease in 1978.