Liam Reilly, the lead singer of Irish band Bagatelle, has died aged 65.

The family of the pianist, singer and songwriter confirmed his passing in a statement today. 

"With sad hearts, the family of Liam Reilly, musician, songwriter and frontman of Bagatelle, wish to confirm that he passed away suddenly but peacefully at his home on January 1st 2021"

Liam Reilly was the lead singer of Irish band Bagatelle for over 40 years

The statement said: "We know that his many friends and countless fans around the world will share in our grief as we mourn his loss, but celebrate the extraordinary talent of the man whose songs meant so much to so many". 

The family has asked for privacy as they deal with his passing. 

"We ask that you respect the family's privacy at this difficult time," the statement read.

Bagatelle backstage during the 'Self Aid' concert in aid of Ireland's unemployed, in the RDS, Dublin, on 17 May 1986. From left to right; John O'Brien, Ken Doyle, Wally McConville and Liam Reilly.

A native of Dundalk in Co Louth, Liam Reilly fronted the band Bagatelle for over 40 years. 

The band created the hits Summer in Dublin, Trump Card and Second Violin, along with many others.

Bagatelle was formed in August 1978.

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Writing on Facebook book Irish musician Gerry Madigan recalled pitching Summer in Dublin with Bagatelle to The Late Late Show. 

He said: "I can recall vividly the day in 1980 when I pitched Bagatelle with their song, Summer In Dublin, to Adrian Cronin, producer of RTE's The Late Late Show.

"I remember that night in the Green Room as they launched that single on the show - the last show of that current season with Foster and Allen as the other music guest. And the rest is history. The band enjoyed phenomenal success for the next 40 years, and Liam gained global recognition as a songwriter."

He added: "He gave the world such amazing songs, shared his talent generously, and those songs and his music will go on forever - the music never dies.

"Thank you Liam for your superb contribution to the Irish music scene. May you rest in peace."

The Wolfe Tones also paid tribute to the "master songwriter". Posting on Twitter they said: "We are very sorry to hear of the passing of Liam Reilly of Bagatelle. A master songwriter, Streets of New York, Flight of the Earl's, Boston Rose + many more, condolences to family an friends , Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam...."

In 1990 Reilly represented Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest with the song, Somewhere in Europe. He came joint-second with French entry Joëlle Ursull. Italy claimed victory with Insieme: 1992 by Toto Cutugno.

Reilly also composed Ireland Eurovision's entry in 1991. Kim Jackson performed his song Could It Be That I'm In Love, which placed tenth in the competition.