Acker Bilk dead: Iconic jazz musician, who scored Stranger on the Shore, passes away aged 85

The clarinet player has passed away after suffering a 'lengthy illness'

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The Independent Online

Acker Bilk, the legendary jazz musician and clarinet player, has died.

Pamela Sutton, who served as his manager for 45 years, confirmed to the BBC that Bilk had "been ill for some time".

"He was my great friend and his music was legendary," she added.

Born Bernard Stanley Bilk on 28 January 1929, he changed his stage name to 'Acker' - the Somerset slang for 'mate' - after learning to play the wind instrument during his time in the army.

Also a vocalist, he went on to become as well known for his vibrato as he did for his recognisable goatee, bowler hate and trademark striped waistcoat.

"Stranger on the Shore", his most iconic single, became the second No.1 single by an English artist in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100 when it was released in released in 1962.

He leaves behind his daughter Jenny, son Pete and wife Jean.