TRIBUTES have been paid to Bay City Rollers guitarist Alan Longmuir, who has died aged 70, after falling ill while on holiday.

Mr Longmuir was a founder-member of the Edinburgh band, which scored a series of hits in the 1970s and became a teen sensation, inspiring a tartan-based music-and-fashion craze: “Rollermania”.

He was described by his wife of 20 years Eileen and their family as “an extraordinary man, with an extraordinary heart,” while Bay City Rollers’ frontman Les McKeown tweeted a picture of Mr Longmuir in his heyday with the message: “RIP Alan Longmuir... the original Bay City Roller”.

The bass guitarist, who had previously suffered health problems including a heart attack in 1995 and stroke in 1997, as well as broken ribs, and pneumonia, appears to have succumbed to a mystery bug picked up while on holiday in Mexico. After spending three days fighting for his life earlier this month at the Galenia Hospital in Cancun, he was cleared to fly home to Edinburgh ahead of his 70th birthday on June 20th. However he was admitted to the Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert on his return where he was reported to be suffering from organ failure.

His death was confirmed by journalist Liam Rudden, writer of the Bay City Rollers musical I Ran With the Gang. He tweeted a statement from Mr Longmuir’s family which said: “We are devastated to share the news that Alan has passed away peacefully surrounded by family. He was an extraordinary man with an extraordinary heart. He brought so much love and kindness to everyone he met, and he leaves a huge hole in our family.”

The statement said Mr Longmuir had described himself a s a plumber who ‘got lucky’, but added: “We are the lucky ones; the ones that were lucky enough to have Alan as part of our lives. We’d like to thank everyone for the love and support that they have provided so far.” Mr Rudden said he was devastated by the news.

Formed at the end of the 1960s by Alan and his younger brother Derek. a drummer, the Bay City Rollers achieved huge success in the mid 1970s as Britain and Europe, then America and eventually Japan all succumbed to catchy, upbeat pop tunes such as Bye Bye Baby, Shang-a-Lang and Saturday Night.

They had ten UK top ten hits and number ones in several countries including the UK, Australia, America and Canada. But it was their image as much as their music which was the key to their success with their distinctive outfits – including tartan trimmed trousers at half mast – an unlikely sensation, they acquired a massive teen following.

They were even given their own TV show and at one stage it was said that if you asked anyone in the world to name three things about Scotland they would say “whisky, Sean Connery and the Bay City Rollers”. Newspapers reported claims by childcare experts that concerts by the band could be dangerous for teenagers who were “nearly all at a vital stage in their development” and “easily provoked to hysteria or tears or aggression”.

The scale of their success remains open to debate even today. They are estimated to have sold anywhere between 100 and 300 million records, with the figures and profits disputed. After Alan Longmuir left the band in 1978, after a notorious show involved a punch-up onstage, all the members of the classic line up became embroiled in legal battles to secure millions of pounds worth of royalties they claimed they had been denied. While music giant Sony is believed to have eventually settled out of court the sums involved were subject to confidentiality agreements, but members of the band were said to have received only £70,000 each.

The troubled history of the band since their break up has also been marked by the fall from grace of Longmuir’s younger brother Derek, who admitted possessing child abuse images in 2000 and sentenced to 300 hours of community service, and the scandal surrounding their late manager Tam Paton, who was jailed for gross indecency against two teenage boys.

After retraining as a plumbing inspector. Mr Longmuir was reported to have been living on a basic pension. However he, McKeown and guitarist Stuart Wood reunited for a Bay City Rollers tour in 2015, which quickly sold out. They also played T in the Park in 2016.

He remained sanguine about his experience, claiming he regretted the trousers, but little else. “I couldn’t walk the streets without being mobbed. . Even now I get asked to sign photographs,” he once said. “I look at One Direction and I think that we were once bigger than even they are. I think good luck guys - enjoy it” he added. “I had the time of my life but I don’t live in the past and I like to think I’m down-to-earth.”