Singer Clifford T Ward dies at 57 after illness

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The singer-songwriter Clifford T Ward, who was best known for his 1973 hit "Gaye", has died after a long battle with multiple sclerosis.

Ward, 57, who lived near Kidderminster in Worcestershire, had been weakened by the debilitating illness and died of pneumonia on Monday.

He was a gifted songwriter whose numbers were recorded by artists including Art Garfunkel and Ringo Starr. But he insisted on keeping a low profile and refused to tour, never achieving the fame his early success promised. Stephen Bagust, secretary of the Clifford T Ward fan club, said the musician was under-rated. "He leaves a great legacy of music that will last for as long as good songs are enjoyed."

Clifford T Ward was born in 1944 and formed a pop group, Martin Raynor and the Secrets, on leaving school. After its demise in 1968, Ward became a teacher, but continued to write and perform, producing the single "Gaye" which reached No 8in June 1973.

He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1984 andrecorded a final album, Julia and Other New Stories, in 1994. Ward is survived by his wife, Pat, and their four children.