Popular 1970s Bradford soul musician Verol Ritchie has died suddenly aged 53.

Verol, bass guitarist with well known band Superfly, was found dead after a heart attack at his Manningham home.

His friends last saw him a couple of days earlier at the bookies where he had told them he was not feeling well and was going home.

Born in Jamaica as one of ten children, he was 16 when he came to Bradford. It was while he was working as an engineer off Wakefield Road that he saved his wages to buy his first bass guitar.

His sister, Carol King, said: “He would play it night and day, only taking an occasional break. Music was his life and love.”

His self-taught talent was so impressive that his big brother Paul invited him to join his band, Superfly.

Carol said: “Verol was always the showman. He had a red outfit made. He was the show – eyes were always on him.”

The band played in clubs far and wide, eventually splitting but re-forming as another group called Dignity.

Verol was a regular performer at clubs in the city, including the former Afro and The Maestro in Manningham.

His brother Keeble said: “Dignity was a bit sharper. They went further afield and were on the verge of being signed by record labels.”

Even after Dignity split, Verol kept up his session-playing.

Keeble said: “He will be remembered for his vibrant lively way of playing his instrument.

“Up until his death he was still writing songs, still playing, still dreaming of getting another band together.

“It will take us and his friends a long time to come to terms with what’s happened. He could be a recluse with his music but his close circle of friends were very important to him. If he could elp anyone he would try his best.”

Verol’s funeral is on Thursday, May 6, at Westgate Baptist Church in Carlisle Road at 1pm. Donations will go to the British Heart Foundation.