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Grange Hill and Countdown theme tune composer Alan Hawkshaw dies at 84 after pneumonia battle

Legendary theme tune composer Alan Hawkshaw has died aged 84. 

Alan wrote introductory music for many much-loved shows during his long career including Countdown, Grange Hill, and the Channel 4 News. 

The acclaimed musician suffered his fourth stroke in July and was recovering at home in Radlett with his wife when he was hospitalised with pneumonia this week.  

Sad: Legendary theme tune composer Alan Hawkshaw has died aged 84 after he was hospitalised with pneumonia this week after suffering from his fourth stroke in July 

Alan's talent agency DNA Music Limited shared the news of his death and said in a statement: 'The proud Leeds born composer, musician and performer Alan Hawkshaw has tragically left us.

'He was behind such incredible theme tunes such as Grange Hill, Channel 4 News, Countdown, Dave Allen at Large, Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World to name a few.

'One of the most sampled musicians in the world, Hip Hop producers in particular have plundered Alan's catalogue of works including the biggest of them all, Jay-Z with Pray which featured on the American Gangster album. 

"Alan would often joke, "I'm one of the oldest rap artists in the world!"  

'He also famously said of Streisand, "Barbara held this song of mine eight years until I sent her a note via one of her lawyers saying please record it before one of us dies." (Barbara went on to record Alan's song Why Let It Go.)' 

Talent: Alan wrote introductory music for many much-loved shows during his long career including Countdown, Grange Hill, and the Channel 4 News

Alan suffered his fourth stroke in July and since August has been recovering at home in Radlett until being admitted to hospital this week with pneumonia. 

Alan’s wife Christiane let his label know the musician had sadly passed away and said in her own statement she was 'heartbroken' to say goodbye to the 'love of her life'. 

She wrote: 'It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to Alan, my husband of 53 years and the love of my life.

'We spent the last few hours gazing at each other with love, holding hands no need for words.

'I told him he and I were forever, and even though he had been unable to speak for the past two months, he managed a few 'forevers' and I knew he was at peace. When you love someone that much, you have to let them go.' 

'I'm one of the oldest rap artists in the world!': Alan was sampled by numerous high profile musicians including Jay Z and had also worked with David Bowie, Cliff Richard and Tom Jones

Many fans rushed to pay tribute to the talented composer online as emotional messages flooded Twitter timelines.  

One user wrote: 'Goodbye Alan Hawkshaw. He wrote The Champ. He played on Melody Nelson. He was in the Shadows. He wrote the themes for Grange Hill, and Countdown, and Channel 4 News. Can’t be many days in my life where I haven’t heard at least one of them. Oh, and this [with a link to the Dave Allen At Large into]'

Another said: 'R.I.P. Alan Hawkshaw ….. a titan of TV music composition and a brilliant keyboard player for so many greats . too many to mention . I dont know a composer not in awe of his ability . Thanks for raising the bar x' 

In response, another fan pointed out: 'Alan Hawkshaw donated the royalties for this to pay fees for underprivileged music students. Every time it plays, someone gets a bit of time in college.' 

'We spent the last few hours gazing at each other with love': Alan's wife Christiane said in her statement she was 'heartbroken' to say goodbye to the 'love of her life'

Soul mates: Alan's wife wrote in her emotional statement: 'We spent the last few hours gazing at each other with love, holding hands no need for words (pictured together) 

'Thanks for raising the bar': Many fans rushed to pay tribute to the talented composer online as emotional messages flooded Twitter timelines

Amongst the numerous fans paying tribute to the talented composer was Countdown's own Susie Dent, who passionately thanked Alan for his work. 

The Dictionary Corner star wrote: 'RIP Alan Hawkshaw, creator of the Countdown music and much, much more. 

'All of us can instantly sing the end notes of the clock sequence: the soundtrack to my career. Thank you, Alan.' 

'The soundtrack to my career': Among them was Countdown's own Susie Dent who passionately thanked Alan for his work

Alan worked with somone of the biggest names in music, including David Bowie, Olivia Newton-John, Cliff Richard, Jane Birkin, and Serge Gainsbourg.  

Earlier this month, the musician was recognised by the Queen in her 2021 Honours list and recieved the British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to the music industry.

The acclaimed composer has won innumerable accolades and honours during his long and successful career, including a Fellowship by Leeds Conservatoire and a Doctorate for services to music by Hull University. 

Most notably, Alan was awarded two BMI Multi-Million Performance Awards, a BAFTA nomination for Best TV score for the TV series Love Hurts and an Academy Award for Best Arrangement for 'I Honestly Love You' with Olivia Newton John.     

High praise: Earlier this month, the musician was recognised by the Queen in her 2021 Honours list and recieved the British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to the music industry