Gerry and the Pacemakers frontman Gerry Marsden has died at the age of 78 after battling a heart infection.

The news was broken by friend and journalist Pete Price, who tweeted that Marsden's family reported the singer passed away "after a short illness which was an infection in his heart."

Gerry and the Pacemakers rose to fame around the same time as fellow Liverpool natives the Beatles, and were the second band signed by manager Brian Epstein. Their first three singles, "How Do You Do It?," "I Like It" and a cover of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Carousel song "You'll Never Walk Alone," all went to No. 1 on the UK charts. Although they earned three more Top 10 singles in their home country and attained some significant success in the United States, a steady decline in popularity led the group to split up in 1967.

Marsden regularly appeared on the children's TV series The Sooty Show over the next decade, and formed a new version of the Pacemakers in 1972. Singing along with the band's version of "You'll Never Walk Alone" quickly became a favorite activity for fans attending Liverpool Football Club games, and the track eventually became the team's official anthem.

"I think it's extended my career because of all the other hits we had, none of them were as massive as 'You'll Never Walk Alone,'" Marsden told the team's official site in a 2013 interview. "The response with everybody singing it and with it being on TV for every home game, it's been great for me."

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