Irish born Bernard ‘Doc’ Neeson, legendary lead singer of The Angels, has died aged 67.
The writer of Australian rock classics including No Secrets, We Gotta Get Outta This Place, Take A Long Line and jukebox favourite Am I Ever Going To See Your Face Again?, had been suffering from a brain tumour, and died in his sleep.
“It is with deep sadness and regret that the family of Angels singer/songwriter Bernard ‘Doc’ Neeson – loving father, family member and friend to so many – announce he has passed away in his sleep at 7.15am,” a statement from his family said.
“He has battled with a brain tumour for the last 17 months and sadly lost his fight this (Wednesday) morning.
“He will be deeply missed by his family and partner, Annie Souter, who would all like to thank everyone for their support through this dark time.”
The statement, which included the names Dzintra, Daniel, Aidan and Kieran, also said, “We love you Dad”.
“You couldn’t have made any of your sons more proud of you if you tried. May your beautiful soul rest in peace sweet angel, fly high.”
Neeson was diagnosed with a brain tumour on January 4, 2013 – the day of his 66th birthday.
His close friend Cat Swinton told the Irish Echo that the death still came as a shock.
“It was a shock because it was so quick, but obviously we were expecting that this brain tumour would get hold of him eventually …
“He was a mighty man,” she said.
Born in Belfast in 1947, he spent some time as a boarder at Terenure College in Dublin before leaving Ireland with his mum – who is from Nenagh, Co Tipperary – dad, four brothers and a sister, arriving in Adelaide as a 13-year-old in 1960.
Both his parents were musical and Neeson told the Irish Echo that his songwriting has been strongly influenced by his Irish heritage.
On the day he died, he had just been named as one of the Top 100 Irish Australians by the Irish Echo. He also made the list in 2009.
When he was awarded an Order Of Australia Medal in the Australia day honours list in 2013, Neeson said: “A few years ago the Irish Echo newspaper named me as one of Australia’s top 100 Irishmen and I felt honoured. Today, Australia has honoured me with this medal and I feel both humble and proud. What a buzz!”