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Tony Wilson

Manchester music mogul Tony Wilson has died in hospital.

Tony Wilson, the former broadcaster, record label boss and owner of the legendary Hacienda nightclub, who had been suffering from cancer, died of a heart attack at the Christie Hospital in Manchester. He was aged 57.

Wilson was born in Salford, Greater Manchester in 1950. He went to De La Salle Grammar School, Salford, and studied English at Cambridge before beginning his TV career at Granada Television as a news reporter. He went on to present Granada's culture and music programme ‘So It Goes’. It was in 1976, whilst working for So It Goes, that he saw the Sex Pistols at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall, an experience he later described as "nothing short of an epiphany". Wilson booked the band for the second series of the programme, probably the first time their strand of punk rock appeared on British television.

During the 1980s and 1990s he anchored Granada Reports, the regional early evening news programme. In 2002 he was immortalised by Steve Coogan in Michael Winterbottom's semi-fictional film 24 Hour Party People. Most recently he presented a weekly radio show on Xfm Manchester and a show on BBC Radio Manchester.

A key figure in the Manchester music scene, Wilson was credited with launching the careers of Joy Division (which later became New Order following the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis) and the Happy Mondays through his record label Factory Records. He co-founded the iconic Hacienda nightclub and the Dry Bar in Manchester, which together formed a central part of the music and cultural heart of the city. However both Factory Records and the Hacienda failed to make a profit and Wilson never amassed a great fortune.

After having been diagnosed with cancer of the kidneys his friends, including members of the Happy Mondays, clubbed together to help pay for his £3,500-a-month cancer treatment after the NHS refused to fund it. Doctors had recommended the drug Sutent, after chemotherapy failed to stop the disease, but the NHS refused to fund it.

Tony Wilson "Mr Madchester".


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