TRIBUTES from local musicians have been pouring in after it was announced that Dorset singer-songwriter Gordon Haskell has died aged 74.

Mr Haskell, the pub singer turned superstar who shot to fame in 2001 with his love song How Wonderful You Are, died on October 16.

The song missed out on being the Christmas number one after it was pipped to the top spot by Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman's Somethin' Stupid.

But his smash hit surpassed the Beatles' Hey Jude and Frank Sinatra's My Way to become the most requested song on BBC Radio 2.

News of Mr Haskell's passing was announced in a Facebook post.

The post said: "It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Gordon, a great musician and a wonderful person who will be sadly missed by so many."

Mr Haskell was originally from Verwood and spent much of his life living in Shaftesbury.

The blues singer and musician gained recognition as a bass player for Southampton group The Fleur des Lys, after which he spend a short period in King Crimson, a band formed by his school friend Robert Fripp.

After departing the band, he continued his career as a solo artist.

He played at a number of local venues, including the Kingswood Hotel in Weymouth, and village halls.

Guitarist and close friend of Mr Haskell, Robbie McIntosh, from Weymouth, said: "I hold him in very high regard and I would put him up there as one of the great songwriters - his talent was rare.

"He was a fantastic lyricist and a clever wordsmith. Sometimes we had such a laugh together we couldn't play because we were laughing so much and then when we would play one of his ballads and I'd almost be in tears. Great artists can do that to you.

Mr McIntosh, who performed on Mr Haskell's last album which was released earlier this year, added: "He was a good guy and very funny and talented. He shall be missed."

Another Weymouth musician, Ken Watkins, said: "It was awful hearing the news about Gordon's passing. We were good friends for about 20 years.

"Gordon was very funny and had a whacky sense of humour. He was intelligent, had a very creative imagination and was a terrific songwriter.

"He was a caring man who enjoyed life."