SINGER-songwriter Richard Hawley was among those paying tribute to a respected music journalist who died after a five-year battle with Alzheimer’s.
Martin Lilleker (62), from the Moorgate area, passed away peacefully on the morning of New Year’s Eve, his family said.
Son Thomas Weatherall described his dad as his best friend, adding: “In the hours before, he was listening to his favourite records and watching Vic and Bob and we were by his side.”
Martin, who wrote for the Sheffield Telegraph and Sheffield Star, penned two books charting 30 years of the city’s music scene.
Mr Hawley said: “He supported everything I’ve ever done from the earliest music I made with Treebound Story right up to the time he couldn’t write anymore.
“He was an encyclopaedia of music knowledge that he shared with a passion and zeal. He loved new music and constantly sought it out with an open mind. I was lucky to have known him and my life has been enriched as a result.”
Guitarist Martin, who attended Rotherham Grammar School and Thomas Rotherham College, wrote Not Like A Proper Job and Beats Working For A Living.
John Firminger, his co-author on the first book, said: “Being with Martin was always a joy. He was such a gentle and friendly person and was also someone I could have a laugh with as we shared a sometimes surreal sense of humour.
“I’ll certainly cherish my friendship and association with Martin and look back on our efforts together with great pride. South Yorkshire has lost another of its musical heroes.”
Sister-in-law Carol Lilleker said: “Martin not only knew a lot of people in the music industry, he was very well-liked and respected.
“We’ve had tributes in from some of the biggest names. It’s quite overwhelming actually.”
Martin is also survived by wife Annie Chumbley, whom he married in April 2008.
In a 2001 interview with the Advertiser, Martin recalled going on strike as a child with Rotherham Parish Church choir after their choirmaster was sacked. He said: “I actually picketed my own dad who was in the congregation!”
Martin was the son of businessman Ernest Lilleker, the managing director of electrical firm Lilleker Brothers, who died in 2004.
His funeral will take place at Grenoside Crematorium in Sheffield, next Friday at 3.30pm. Thomas said: “We would welcome everyone to join us in remembering dad.”
Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the dementia support group at Woodland View Nursing Home, where Martin spent his final year.
Carol said: “The staff there have been amazing and we’d like to do something to thank them.”