The Boomtown Rats have announced that the guitarist Garry Roberts, a founding member of the Dublin band, has died. He was 72.

In a statement on the band's social media, the remaining members of the group said they made the announcement with "great grief" and extended sympathy to his family and friends.

The full statement read: "It is with very great grief that the members of The Boomtown Rats announce the death this morning of Garry Roberts, their friend and guitarist.

"The remaining members of the band, Pete, Bob, Simon, Darren and Al extend their deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

"On a clear Spring evening in 1975, in a pub in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Garry became THE founding member of what turned out to be a great rock'n'roll band, driven largely by that sound of his, a storm of massive considered noise that punched out from his overtaxed amplifiers; and which animated not just the rest of the group but audiences he played to around the world.

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"For fans he was The Legend - and he was. For us he was Gazzer, the guy who summed up the sense of who The Rats are.

"We have known Garry since we were children and so we feel strangely adrift without him tonight.

"Safe travels Gaz.

"Thanks for everything mate.

"Bob Geldof, Pete Briquette, Simon Crowe with Darren Beale and Alan Dunne"

Roberts was said to have been instrumental in the band settling on The Boomtown Rats as a name.

He reportedly threatened to quit unless they changed their name from The Nightlife Thugs.

Their new name was chosen by Geldof after he read the phrase in US protest singer Woody Guthrie's autobiography, Bound for Glory.

Additional Reporting: Press Association