Tributes have flooded in for a legend of the Liverpool music scene after he died following a week-long battle in hospital with Covid-19.
Hambi Haralambous – founder of the city’s legendary Motor Museum Studio – died last night after contracting coronavirus.
His death prompted an outpouring of grief from friends and colleagues who revered him as a creative force in the city, reports Liverpool Echo.
The music venue which he established had hosted bands including Oasis and the Arctic Monkeys.
Hambi was also the frontman for the popular synth band Hambi & The Dance in the early 1980s, which were signed to Virgin Records and later went into film.
The dad-of-four had been ill for a number of weeks before his death, but managed to post an alarming photo to his Facebook page on September 27, showing him in his hospital bed fitted with a bubble shaped helmet connected to an oxygen supply.
The image was captioned with the simple warning: “To all my Facebook friends who think Covid is a hoax. Think again.”
Close friend and collaborator Andy McCluskey, lead singer of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, sad: “Honestly, I feel like my soul has been ripped out of me.”
He said: “We have been friends and creative partners musically and visually for many years.
“You name it, he’s done it. He was relentlessly positive, that was the amazing thing about him. He took a lot of knocks in his life and he’s not always had it easy, but he always came back stronger with a good idea.
“He was such a huge support as well.
“There would be times when I would be feeling a little bit unsure or would be having a bit of a wobble, but he would always say trust the people you work with.
“If someone needs your support value what they do and always invest in the people, that was like his mantra.
“I’m just numb today to be honest.”
Mr McCluskey said Hambi, who was a grandfather and a husband to wife Lesley, had been sick for a number of weeks, but many of his friends felt he would pull through.
He said: “He had been in and out of ICU for a number of weeks, and he had a very, very serious case of covid.
“I had a case at a very similar time but I was only ill for two days, I just didn’t feel 100 per cent. It just goes to show what a total lottery this disease is.”
Other well known figures in the Liverpool creative scene shared their memories and grief at news of Hambi’s death.
Liverpool band The Real People posted: “Hambi helped to manage The Real People during the mid to late 90’s and it was in Hambi’s Pink Motor Museum Studios on Lark Lane that The Realies recorded some of their best known tracks and albums, notably ‘What’s On The Outside’.
“Hambi had been hospitalised by Covid-19 and in his last facebook post from his hospital bed, Hambi warned his friends that Covid-19 was no hoax and everyone needed to start being more careful with regard to the pandemic.
“That typified Hambi really, that even when he was fighting for his own life he was thinking of his friends.”
Hambi was known as a champion of good causes including black rights, and made a number of documentary films.
Mr McCluskey added: “Right now, I am very sad for his family and I am very sad for the city. It has lost someone who did a lot of wonderful things.”