The Manhattan Transfer founder Tim Hauser dies aged 72

Singer was "visionary" behind Grammy Award-winning vocal quartet

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Tim Hauser, the founder of Grammy-winning vocal quartet The Manhattan Transfer has died aged 72.

The band released their self-titled debut album in 1975, including hits such as “Operator” and “The Boy From New York City”, sparking off a career spanning four decades.

Hauser died on Thursday from a cardiac arrest, according to a band representative. He is survived by his wife Barb Sennet Hauser, son Basie and daughter Lily.

The singer was described as “the visionary behind The Manhattan Transfer” in a statement released by surviving band members Alan Paul, Janis Siegel and Cheryl Bentyne.

“It's incomprehensible to think of this world without him,” they added.

From right: Tim Hauser with Janis Siegel, Cheryl Bentyne and Alan Paul of The Manhattan Transfer during the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy, on July 13, 2010

Hauser formed the first incarnation of The Manhattan Transfer in 1969 with Erin Dickins, Mary Nelson, Gene Pistilli and Pat Rosali, but the foursome later disbanded.

It was while working as a taxi driver in his native New York City that Hauser met some of the band’s current members including Siegel and Laurel Masse – who was replaced by Bentyne in 1978.

They went on to win multiple pop and jazz Grammy awards, with their critically acclaimed album Vocalese – released in 1985 – earning them an incredible 12 Grammy nominations.

The Manhattan Transfer have said they will continue their upcoming tour despite Hauser’s death, with their next show taking place at Manchester, New Hampshire, on October 23.

Additional reporting by AP