Dean Marvin, who had been estranged from his father for more than a decade after publicly challenging his "Mr Nice Guy" image, had lived in the YMCA hostel in Crouch End, north London, for the past five years.
The former Shadows guitarist learnt of his son's death yesterday afternoon when his daughter, Philippa, 30, telephoned him in Western Australia, where he has lived with his second wife and two children by his second marriage for the last 10 years.
Hank's manager of 20 years, Brian Goode, spoke to him a couple of hours later. "He felt that all he could say is that he is extremely shocked and saddened," he said.
Louis Lewis, general secretary of the YMCA hostel, last night described Dean as a "a nice person, but at the same time a private person". "He had lost contact with his family," he said. "I think there was a feeling that they didn't want to be involved with him and he didn't want to be involved with them. The only thing he was very proud of was the fact that Cliff Richard was his godfather."
Sir Cliff, a committed Christian had not, however, seen Dean since the late Sixties. He issued a statement yesterday saying: "It does not matter who the victim is, it is a sad indictment on society when people die in this way. It is more painful when the person is known to you, although I have not seen Dean since his family split in the late Sixties. My sympathy goes out to his mum and dad who I know must be devastated."
Dean's body was discovered last Monday morning, lying fully clothed on his bed. He was last seen at 10.30 the previous night. The cause of his death is not known, but police said that there appeared to be no suspicious circumstances. A post-mortem examination will be held today. His mother, Beryl King, is understood to have arranged the funeral for next Tuesday.
In 1983, Dean told a newspaper that religious differences had caused the rift between Dean and his father, a Jehovah's Witness. He admitted to a drink problem, which later cost him his office job and left him surviving on dole handouts.
Hank Marvin later commented: "It's never ideal that a close relative should walk away from you like that, but as I've matured I've realised that just because you have a blood bond, it doesn't mean you will always be friends."
Hank, who is almost into the 40th year of his musical career, is due to return to Britain next March for a concert tour.
Blood ties, page 6