Tributes have been paid to a ‘legendary’ Blackpool performer who died just hours after his last show.
DJ and singer Mike Rossi, known by his fans as ‘Mr Blackpool’, was in fine form at his regular gig at the Queen’s Hotel at Blackpool Promenade on Saturday night.
But the 67-year-old died just hours later on Sunday from a blocked artery brought on by a long-standing heart condition.
His wife Dawn Faulkes, 53, said: “It’s just devastating. Blackpool has lost one of its icons.
“The messages we’ve had from people who knew him have been incredible. I must have had more than 700 messages.
“One person said Christmas would never be the same.”
Mr Rossi, who lived off Highfield Road in South Shore, had been performing in Blackpool for more than 30 years. He was a regular act at the Queen’s Hotel and Hampton Road Social Club, where he rubbed shoulders with singer Joe Longthorne, comedian Johnnie Casson and pantomime favourites Cannon and Ball.
As well as performing as a DJ, singer, and drummer, he brought joy to hundreds of children playing Santa in Debenhams in Blackpool town centre at Christmas.
Mr Rossi’s funeral will take place at the Lytham Crematorium on December 4.
Mrs Faulkes said: “It’s going to be very bright and lively. We’ll be playing his favourite rock’n’roll songs – he loved singing ‘Johnny B Goode’ and ‘Save Me the Dance’.
“We’ve asked everyone to wear pink and red, his favourite colours.
“He was a happy person and he wouldn’t want any long faces. It’s hard for me to organise because I still can’t take it in that he’s gone. I keep expecting him to walk through the door. But I have to stay strong for him.”
Now Mrs Faulkes, along with their friends at the Queen’s Hotel, have vowed to continue ‘Mr Blackpool’s’ legacy.
‘Rossi’s Rockin Around the Christmas Tree Party Weekend’ will go ahead at the Queen’s Hotel at the Prom on December 11 and 12 - without its headline act.
Mrs Faulkes said: “We have to go ahead with the night – I don’t think he would’ve forgiven me if I cancelled it.
“He was supposed to be sorting out all the tables this week. He wanted to name them after famous rock’n’roll stars, like Elvis Presley and Tommy Steele. He had to have everything just right.
“He helped put on the Christmas party at the Queen’s every year. Usually we get a few hundred guests - but this year we’re expecting a lot more to pay their respects.”
Debbie Raymond, assisstant manager at the Queen’s Hotel, said: “It just won’t be the same here without Mike. He was the loveliest person you could ever meet - nothing was too much trouble for him.
“He always had all the guests in uproar. He was perfect at judging exactly what they wanted and knew how to keep them coming back.
“We decided to go ahead with the Christmas party in his honour. It was Mike’s weekend and that hasn’t changed. It will be even more special knowing it’s for Mike.”