Singer-songwriter Michael Marra has died at the age of 60 after a long illness.

The Dundee-born musician and actor died on Tuesday evening. His contribution to the city's cultural life was rewarded when Dundee University gave him an honorary doctorate in 2007.

He is survived by his wife, Peggy, and children, Alice and Matthew, who play in indie pop band the Hazey Janes, with whom he collaborated on numerous occasions, including his album the Houseroom, which was released in March this year.

He was also the uncle of Labour MSP and shadow minister for community safety and legal affairs, Jenny Marra.

Read our 2006 interview with Michael Marra

Mr Marra, born in 1952, was brought up in the Lochee district of Dundee by a printer and a schoolteacher. After being expelled from school at 14 he took on a number of different jobs, including as an apprentice baker, apprentice electrician and builder’s labourer.

He formed his first band, Hen’s Teeth, in 1971, but became better known as a solo artist on the release of his first album the Midas Touch in 1980.

Throughout his career he supported performers including Van Morrison, the Proclaimers, Barbara Dickson and Deacon Blue. He also dueted with such names as Patti Smith, Eddi Reader, Karen Mathieson and Karine Polwart.

A regular performer at Glasgow’s Celtic Connection’s festival, his Scottish folk songs have been credited with reviving interest in folk music. Some of his best loved songs include Frida Kahlo's Visit to the Tay Bridge Bar, Happed in Mist and General Grant's Visit to Dundee.

He was inspired to pen a protest song, We Are She, for former police officer Shirley McKee after having his fingerprints routinely taken at customs when flying into Washington DC. His popular football anthem Hamish the Goalie was a tribute to Dundee United’s legendary goalkeeper Hamish McAlpine.

Although most known as a solo performer, he worked extensively in theatre, radio and television. He collaborated with poet and playwright Liz Lochhead on the show In Flagrant Delicht, which was performed for over ten years in places as far afield as Washington DC and Melbourne. Liz Lochhead would affectionately called him the "wee shilpit skinny guy from Dundee."

He composed his own operetta If The Moon Can Be Believed, performed in a 2007 production of the Demon Barber and wrote the play St Catherine’s Day.

He was awarded the Herald Angel Award in 2010 for his performance at The Acoustic Music Centre during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Donald Shaw, artistic director of Celtic Connections, said:

“It’s really sad news. He was just one of these really warm, generous people as a human and musically as well. He just had that great understated way with lyrics and songs, and there was so much depth in his song writing in a way that was a little bit too left field of mainstream to connect with the whole country. But I really do feel that he was so close to being an iconic artist in this country, and thats the thing, ironically it will be from now what a great writer he was. He was also a big part of encouraging young musicians, always giving to people, he was just recently talking about being in the jail in Dundee and teaching songs to inmates.”

Tributes to Mr Marra have been paid on twitter. Eddi Reader wrote,  "God bless Michael Marra, songwriting GENIUS and wonderful, wonderful man. So kind to me, my heart is breaking dear God."

While HeraldScotland blogger Janice Forsyth said "It's true & so, so sad - the great singer, songwriter & true gentleman, Michael Marra, has died. Sending love to his family & friends."