Tributes have been paid following the death of renowned traditional musician Joe Burke at the age of 81.

A native of east Galway, Burke was a master accordion player who inspired generations of younger musicians.

He performed and recorded music for over 50 years and was acclaimed by audiences worldwide for his style and technique.

Among his many awards was the AIB traditional musician of the year 1997. 

He was also named as RTÉ's Traditional Musician of the Year in 1970, and won an award in Musical Mastery from Boston College in 2000.

Burke was born in 1939 in Kilnadeema in Co Galway and began playing at age four. He bought his first accordion the 1950s.

He was also proficient on the fiddle, tin whistle, flute and uilleann pipes, but was known nationally and internationally as the musical giant of the button accordion.

He was a founding member of the Leitrim Ceili Band in 1956 and toured the US in 1961.

Burke's first solo LP, Galway's Own, was released in 1971.

He lived in the US between 1988 and 1991, and returned to east Galway in 1992, where he continued to teach and perform music.

He is survived by his wife, musician Ann Conroy Burke.

President Michael D Higgins paid tribute to Joe Burke, saying the news "will have saddened countless music lovers".

"His legacy, not only the great archive of his music but also the love for music that he kindled among countless young musicians, will continue to inspire.

"Sabina and I send our condolences to Ann Conroy Burke, to his family and friends, and to all those whose hearts he touched."

The Irish Traditional Music Archive also paid tribute to Burke, saying he will be "forever remembered as one of the most influential accordion players of his time".

"His lifelong passion for Irish traditional music was infectious to anyone who had the good fortune to speak or play with him.

"As well as being an outstanding traditional musician, he was extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of the music, its history and development. In addition to the release of many outstanding recordings, his long and productive career included performance, teaching, and the presenting of concerts and programmes on both radio and television."

Additional reporting Tommie Gorman