The manager helped launch the careers of many famous British pop groups

By Helen Murphy
March 11, 2020 11:05 AM
Tom Watkins

Tom Watkins, who managed boy band groups including the Pet Shop Boys, has died, multiple outlets report. He was 70.

Friends of Watkins confirmed to The Guardian that the manager died on Feb. 24, and his funeral was held on Tuesday. The outlet reports that his cause of death has not yet been announced, but Watkins had suffered from various health issues in recent years, including diabetes, a liver transplant and multiple strokes.

According to the BBC, Watkins helped launch the careers of many beloved British pop groups, including Pet Shop Boys, East 17 and Bros.

On Tuesday, Pet Shop Boys — which consists of duo Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe — paid tribute to the late manager on Twitter.

“Chris and I were sad to learn that our first manager Tom Watkins has died after being ill for several years,” Tennant wrote. “I first met Tom in 1975 and then a decade later he became our manager. He was a genuine larger-than-life personality … and we learned a lot together about the music business and had many good times.”

Tom Watkins

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Watkins managed Pet Shop Boys beginning in 1984, according to The Guardian, and helped lead them to a slew of number one hits including “West End Girls” and “It’s a Sin.” He went on to manage Bros and East 17 in the 1990s, also leading them to success on the music charts.

Besides working as a manager, Watkins was also a talented graphic designer and designed his own house in East Sussex, The Guardian reported. In 2007, he wrote a memoir about his time in music called Let’s Make Lots of Money.

According to the outlet, Watkins is survived by his partner, Marc.