Tony Wilson dies

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    Sat, Aug 11, 2007, 13:50
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  • Factory Records and Hacienda impresario Tony Wilson has died of a heart attack.
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  • Factory Records and Hacienda impresario Tony Wilson has died of a heart attack. The Manchester music icon had been struggling with kidney cancer for year. He died after complications due to surgery at Christie Hospital in Manchester. New Order drummer Stephen Morris told Newsnight: "There would be no Joy Division or New Order without Tony. He really believed in us and he was smart enough to start a label and put our records out." "He was so enthusiastic, he was always 'we'll just go ahead an do it and figure out why we did it afterwards'," Morris added. "It was his spirit of enthusiasm that steam-rollered things through and it's why we put up with him for so long. You could have an argument with Tony and walk out hating him and the next time you saw him it was all forgotten." Wilson began his career as a television host in the 1970s, rising to music history fame by being the first broadcaster to pipe punk into British living rooms in 1976. Later he founded Factory Records, championing acts such as Joy Division, New Order and The Happy Mondays. Wilson founded The Hacienda in 1982, which found fame - but not fortune - as one of the first clubs in the UK to champion house music. With nights such as Nude with Mike Pickering, Fantazia and Hot, The Hac would go on to become the centre of England's acid house boom, branching out into Ibiza and peaking in popularity at the height of the rave era. In 2002 director Michael Winterbottom portrayed the life of Tony Wilson in the semi-fictional film '24 Hour Party People'. Peter Saville, responsible for the distinct graphic design of Factory releases, told the Guardian: "Tony created a new understanding of Manchester, the resonance of Factory goes way beyond the music. Young people often dream of going to another place to achieve their goals. Tony provided the catalyst and context for Mancunians to do that without having to go anywhere."