He was known for his playful humour and outrageous costumes when Sweet played hits like Blockbuster and Little Willy on Top of the Pops in the 1970s.
The band’s Twitter account announced the news on 4 June, and provided a statement from Priest’s family.
The statement reads: “It is with a heavy heart that we announce at 8:25am PT today, Steve Priest, founding member of The Sweet, passed away. He is survived by his wife, Maureen, three daughters, Lisa, Danielle & Maggie and 3 grandchildren, Jordan, Jade & Hazel.”
Priest formed The Sweet in London in 1968, alongside lead vocalist Brian Connolly and drummer Mick Tucker. In their best-known line-up, they would later be joined by guitarist Andy Scott.
The group enjoyed a run of hits in the UK and abroad during the 1970s, including “Ballroom Blitz”, “Little Willie” and “Fox on the Run”.
Bandmate Andy Scott paid tribute, describing Priest as the best bass player he had ever played with. “From that moment in the summer of 1970 when we set off on our musical odyssey the world opened up and the roller coaster ride started.”
“I am in pieces right now,” added the guitarist, who is now the sole surviving member of Sweet’s classic line-up.
“His wife Maureen and I have kept in contact and though his health was failing I never envisaged this moment. Never. My thoughts are with his family.”
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