Tributes have been paid to a “brilliant” Birmingham singer who has died of swine flu.
Trish Keenan’s fans included former radio DJ John Peel and Simpsons creator Matt Groening.
The 42-year-old singer of the band Broadcast died in hospital on January 14 from pneumonia after contracting the virus while on tour in Australia. The band’s former guitarist Tim Felton paid tribute to Ms Keenan, describing her as a passionate and brilliant singer.
Ms Keenan is thought to have contracted the H1N1 virus while on tour in Australia, and had been in a coma at Warwick Hospital since New Year’s Day.
Mr Felton, who was one of the founding members of the cult band alongside Ms Keenan, her partner James Cargill and keyboardist Roj Stevens, said: “I knew she was ill but obviously the reality’s a bit different ... it’s tragic, awful.
“She was quite a complex character; many good things, many bad things, just like anyone. She was very passionate about music, very strong willed and really loyal, but she also loved a good argument.
“She had a wonderful sense of melody, a great songwriter; she was very driven about that and lyrically she brought a lot of energy into her words and would constantly work at them, and because of that there was a wonderful sense of ‘otherworldliness’ about her songs.”
Mr Felton said he first met Ms Keenan in the late 80s and the band was set up in the early 90s.
“We were friends first, we’d go to clubs, hang out and listen to music together, then the band took off and I left in 2004,” he explained.
“I spoke to her occasionally over the last few years and we’d see each other occasionally, but [when I was in Broadcast] we spent 10 years in constant daily contact.”
Formed in the early 1990s, Broadcast were one of a clutch of local electronic bands at that time which also included Pram and Plone.
They released their debut album The Noise Made By People in 2000. along with three other albums including 2009’s Broadcast and The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age.
Their song The Book Lovers featured on the soundtrack of the film Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.
Championed by Radio One's John Peel, Broadcast’s fans include Paul Weller, Blur guitarist Graham Coxon, singer/actress Zooey Deschanel and Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening.
The band was chosen by Groening to perform at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival he curated last May in Minehead, Somerset.
When Mr Felton left the band in 2004, Ms Keenan and Mr Cargill continued as a duo, later moving from Birmingham to Hungerford in Berkshire.
Mr Felton said Ms Keenan returned to Birmingham from Australia for Christmas and on New Year’s Eve complained of chest pains. Her mother took her to hospital, but she was sent home after doctors failed to find anything wrong.
She returned to hospital the following day and was diagnosed with swine flu and pneumonia, Mr Felton added.
He said she was taken to Warwick Hospital because there were not enough beds with the right equipment in Birmingham.
“She lost consciousness on New Year’s Day and never recovered,” he explained.
Writing on social networking site Twitter, Blur guitarist Graham Coxon said Ms Keenan’s death was “devastating news” while She and Him singer Zooey Deschanel wrote that she was “terribly sad” and called Ms Keenan a “very talented woman”.
Mr Felton paid his own touching tribute to his friend and former bandmate.
He said: “She was never shy, she’d always say what she thought – she didn’t mind upsetting people outside the band.
“If she felt pressured to respond in a certain way, she wouldn’t; she was very strong willed which was a great thing and might seem as a contrast to the [beautiful] voice – she wasn’t a ‘girly’ girl in any way, but in the same way very sensitive.
"Often I’d be on stage and look round at her singing and be overwhelmed at just how brilliant she was.”