By Olivia Kelleher
Tributes have been paid to Irish singer, Timmy Matley, who fronted the band The Overtones following his sudden death aged 36.
The band announced the passing of the Cork-born vocalist on Twitter saying that the news was “as heartbreaking for you (the fans) as all of us.”
“It is with the greatest sadness that we have to announce that our dear friend and brother Timmy has passed away. We appreciate your love and support at this difficult time. Mike, Darren, Mark and Lachie.”
Mr Matley was diagnosed with stage three malignant melanoma two years ago. However, he was in remission from his illness. The circumstances around his death have not been made clear as of yet.
The native of Farranree on the north side of Cork city joined the vocal harmony group The Overtones eight years ago. The band scored four top ten albums in the UK.
In a tweet, Farranree Youth Club said their “thoughts and prayers” were with Mr Matley’s mother Geraldine and his sister Audrey at this “heartbreaking time.”
“Heaven has gained the most beautiful angel. Sleep Tight our friend.”
Cork publisher Michael Mulcahy said he was deeply shocked at the news.
“Timmy was 36 and was a beautiful guy whose journey from Liam Healy Road in Cork took him to London and the great stages of success that he enjoyed with The Overtones.
“He battled cancer in 2016 and was in remission. He was Hi’s Most Stylish Man 2014 and was a proud Corkman who loved coming home. To his Mam Geraldine and Sister Audrey, the heartfelt sympathy from Jonathan and myself. We were privileged to know Timmy. May he rest In peace. “
Mr Matley was due to perform at City Hall in Cork in June as part of a charity concert to raise funds in aid of the local Down Syndrome Centre.
He was also planning to do a skydive in early May to raise funds for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity at the hospital where he received his medical treatment.
On his Just Giving fundraising page, he detailed his battle with cancer.
“In Summer 2016, I found a lump in my underarm, and on the 2nd of September that same year, I was diagnosed with stage three malignant melanoma – a form of skin cancer.
“It was a very frightening and scary time for me and my family. I had felt fine and had no symptoms (aside from the lump) so couldn’t quite believe the diagnosis.
“The first step in my treatment was lymph node surgery under my right arm. Of 24 lymph nodes that were removed during this surgery, melanoma was found in 23 of them and I was told after the surgery that there were also lumps in my neck.
“I had a scan a few weeks after surgery which confirmed that the lumps in my neck were also melanoma and that I had two large tumours on my adrenal glands. “
Mr Matley said he subsequently did a lot of research into melanoma treatment.
“I discovered that the most pioneering treatment was taking place at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London where they had undertaken the biggest trial of the immunotherapy drugs – ipilimumab & nivolumab.
Immunotherapy pauses the growth of cancer in order to allow your own immune system to fight the disease and has proved the most effective treatment for this type of cancer.
“I started treatment with these drugs in March 2017 and I am happy to say that I am one of the lucky ones who has responded amazingly to this treatment.
“My latest scans look really positive, with most of the cancer in regression, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that when I have my next full scan at Christmas, I will be diagnosed NED (no evidence of disease).”
Fans and colleagues tweeted about the passing of the popular frontman with messages of condolence coming from amongst others television presenter Philip Schofield and X Factor winner Sam Bailey.
Dane O’Sullivan, Director of dance at the Performers Academy in Cork, said that Timmy was an inspiration to many of his peers.
“Such a heavy heart…..just the most gorgeous, funny, kind and talented guy. Someone I looked up to so much when I started in the Firkin Crane and still do! The sky just got its brightest star.”