Tributes have been pouring in from the world of music after it was announced that Pete Shelley, lead singer of British punk pioneers Buzzcocks, has died this week at the age of 63.

The songwriter passed away on Thursday (December 6th) from a suspected heart attack in Estonia, where he was currently resident, according to the BBC.

“It’s with great sadness that we confirm the death of Pete Shelley, one of the UK’s most influential and prolific songwriters and co-founder of the seminal original punk band Buzzcocks,” the group said in a statement. “Pete’s music has inspired generations of musicians over a career that spanned five decades and with his band and as a solo artist, he was held in the highest regard by the music industry and by his fans around the world.”

Pete ShelleyPete Shelley of Buzzcocks, who has died aged 63

Leigh-born Shelley, who formed Buzzcocks with Howard Devoto in 1976, had an instrumental part in the growth of British first-wave punk, particularly in Manchester and the North West.

Weeks after forming the band, he and Devoto travelled nearly 200 miles to London in a borrowed car to see the Sex Pistols play, and eventually convinced the Pistols’ manager, Malcolm McLaren, to let them play on the same bill in return for organising a gig for the Pistols in Manchester.

Buzzcocks then released one of punk’s most seminal releases, the independently released and distributed EP Spiral Scratch. Devoto then departed the group, but over the next few years, the band released three brilliant albums before splitting in 1981 for the first time, along with a clutch of excellent singles, the best known being 1978’s ‘Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)’.

With his wry, acerbic and self-effacing lyrics about love – and the lack of it – Pete Shelley helped establish the archetype of the shy, non-confident male lead singer, stripping rock and power-pop of much of its machismo and cockiness.

After his death was announced, tributes from the world of pop and rock began to come in, with many acknowledging the tremendous influence that Shelley had had on their careers and lives.

Peter Hook, whose band Joy Division (later New Order) was launched at a gig supporting Buzzcocks, wrote: “He helped us so much at the start of our career out of a sheer love for all things punk. Without Pete and the Buzzcocks, I would probably still be working at the Docks.”

Tim Burgess of The Charlatans echoed the sentiment. “Pete Shelley wrote perfect three minute pop songs. The soundtrack to being a teenager. You’ll be missed Pete but you’ll be remembered for a long long time for your brilliant music.”

And Tracey Thorn, singer with Everything But The Girl, said: “Oh God but I loved Buzzcocks. And Pete Shelley was an amazing songwriter. ‘But after all life's only death's recompense’. RIP.”

More: Buzzcocks announce ‘Spiral Scratch’ and ‘Time’s Up!’ re-releases