……BY BILLY SUTER…..
SOUTH Africa lost another entertainment personality to the Covid-19 pandemic yesterday when singer Sean Rennie, who had hit singles in the 1970s with I’ll Walk With You and Charly, died in a Johannesburg hospital isolation ward.
The Irish-born singer, who settled in South Africa in 1964, leaves his wife, Pat, and three adult sons: Kieran, Eamon and Brendan.
Kieran, who is married to actress Ashleigh Harvey, is also a popular singer, noted for his work on the national Barnyard Theatre circuit. Now living in London with his wife and working as a freelance journalist, he recently flew back to Johannesburg to lend support to his family.
“I’ve often said that I’ve been blessed with the most incredible parents. Yesterday, my brothers and I lost our father and my mom lost her husband. For 50 years they walked this path together,” he wrote on his Facebook page today.
He added about his father: “For the musical talent I have, he was the fountain. For my interest in the world around me, in learning its complexities and experiencing the diversities, he was the tour guide.“
Kieran also wrote: “From his death, so far I have learnt these two things: Most of us will survive Covid if we get it. But who are you giving it to? He died alone in an isolation ward. And, tell the people who you love how you feel. Tell them often and say it from the heart. ‘Cause you never know when you’ll never get to say it again.”
Sean Rennie formed the popular circuit band Purple Haze in 1966 and then enjoyed a solo recording career, his I’ll Walk With You reaching No 13 on the official South African singles chart in 1970, during a five-week chart run. In 1974, his Charly climbed to No 4 on the South African charts.
South African music industry legend David Gresham said on Facebook: “It is with such great sadness that the amazing Sean Rennie passed away. Sean was the start of my record company life. Fifty-one years ago, Sean was the first artist and only person to believe in my composition and vision”.
Seventies hit-maker Jessica Jones, of Sunday, Monday ,Tuesday and Wake Up, Wake Up fame, said: “I remember Sean so well. We were both part of the David Gresham stable. He was such a lovely, kind, gentle guy, and had a great sense of humour; a gorgeous, sweet-toned voice. Sad loss for his family. Condolences.”
Dennis East, another hit-maker of the 1970s, wrote on Facebook: “So sad to hear of the passing of Sean Rennie. A true gentlemen and a rare talent.”