'Wild Thing' hitmaker dead at 71

The Troggs. (WENN.com)

The Troggs. (WENN.com)

WENN.com

, Last Updated: 6:32 PM ET

The Troggs frontman Reg Presley has died a year after retiring from music to concentrate on battling lung cancer.

The Wild Thing hitmaker, 71, died at his home in Andover, England on Monday, surrounded by his family.

The rocker's daughter Karen tells WENN, "He passed away peacefully at home and myself, my brother and our mother were with him. We're absolutely heartbroken."

Writer and broadcaster Keith Altham, the man who gave him his famous surname, has posted a tribute on Facebook.com, which reads: "My dear old pal Reg Presley of The Troggs died today at 1.00 surrounded by family and friends at his home in Andover following a succession of recent strokes and a losing battle with cancer. He was one very real person in a sometimes very unreal world. Our thoughts are with his wife Brenda and the the family and those legion of fans who loved his music and his band. I will miss him hugely."

Presley was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of 2012 and announced his retirement in a post on The Troggs' official website.

He wrote, "As you all know I was taken ill whilst doing a gig in Germany in December. During my stay in hospital tests showed that in fact I have lung cancer. I am receiving chemotherapy treatment and at the moment not feeling too bad.

"However, I've had to call time on The Troggs and retire. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the cards and calls and for your love, loyalty and support over the years."

As the leader of The Troggs, Presley enjoyed success throughout the 1960s with songs like Wild Thing, With a Girl Like You and Love is All Around. He had a career rebirth in the mid-1990s when Wet Wet Wet's cover of Love is All Around spent 15 weeks at the top of the British pop charts.

Presley was born Reginald Maurice Ball in Andover in 1941.

Aside from being a beloved British hitmaker, the rocker also made a name for himself as an avid alien researcher who specialised in crop circles and signs of extra-terrestrial life on earth.

His final years were full of health crises - Presley suffered a serious stroke during a family vacation in Spain in 2010 and just before his lung cancer diagnosis last year, he battled pneumonia.


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