President leads heartfelt tributes to much-loved Dubliners star Eamonn
Dubliners legend Eamonn Campbell has been described as a "gentle soul" who "always had a big smile" as tributes poured in for the guitarist following his death.
Campbell (70), who joined The Dubliners in 1987, was touring with The Dublin Legends in Holland and Belgium when he became ill late last week.
He was admitted to hospital and died peacefully, surrounded by his wife and family.
President Michael D Higgins paid tribute to Campbell, saying he would be missed by his legions of fans around the world.
"It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of Eamonn Campbell, much-loved musician and member of The Dubliners," he said in a statement.
"His loss will be deeply felt by his family and friends, and Sabina and I extend our condolences to his children Eamonn, Franky, Emma-Jane, Niamh and Ciara and grandchildren.
"He will also be missed by those, in Ireland and further afield, who continued to enjoy his voice and his music with The Dubliners, when Sabina and I met him so often.
"Many others will have the warmest memories of his work with many other artists."
Singer Imelda May described Campbell as "my rock and roll buddy". Yesterday she shared a photo of herself with the "Dublin legend" and said she was proud to have known him.
"It's with a heavy heart I tell you my lovely friend Eamonn Campbell from The Dubliners died last night.
"He was a true Dublin legend and a hero of mine since I can remember. Proud to know him.
"Last time I saw him we had a good old trad session and lots of laughs. I'll miss him. My love goes to Noreen, all his children, family, friends and of course his bandmates at this time. RIP my rock and roll buddy," she wrote.
Campbell's bandmates also paid tribute to their friend and remembered his fondness for the band's live performances.
Singer Sean Cannon said: "I am devastated. We have spent the last 30 years together touring and playing concerts.
"He was a great player with a great feel for Irish music."
Gerry O'Connor said he was still finding it difficult to cope with the news.
"I have not come to terms with it yet. He was such a lovely guy. Always had a big smile on his face. He just adored playing live. He is a huge loss," he said.
Singer Paul Watchorn said he was "devastated" by Campbell's death.
"He always had such a good time in Europe. A little bit of sightseeing and then the concert.
"That's what he loved most, playing live. He was a real musician's musician and he always knew what the audience wanted to hear," he said.
Campbell played on some of the band's biggest hits and played on and produced the likes of 'The Fields Of Athenry', 'A Bunch Of Thyme' and 'The Irish Rover'.
It was his work on 'The Irish Rover' that saw Campbell being invited to join The Dubliners as their guitarist.