Les McKeown ‘had new outlook on life’ in poignant last TV chat before sad death

Les McKeown had his 'sights set on Strictly' during his final television appearance before his tragic death on Tuesday.

The Bay City Rollers star died suddenly aged just 65, leaving friends and family devastated.

But the singing superstar hadn’t appeared on TV since October 2019, when he made an appearance on the Lorraine show.

Presenter Lorraine Kelly opened the segment by saying: "For people who don’t realise just how huge the Bay City Rollers were, think One Direction times a million. It was crazy, wasn’t it?"

The Scotsman popped up on the show to promote the band’s newly launched greatest hits album, Gold.

He and Lorraine discussed Les’ rehab stint and 2008 breakdown, along with his money struggles.

Les appeared on US reality show Rehab in 2008 to 2009, which helped him combat his alcoholism.

He said the visit "brought me back to myself" and wanted to focus on leading a positive life.

Les said: "I'm trying to put positivity out there, thinking is what it is all about, it's all about your attitude to life and your attitude towards everyone around you."

"You’re doing really well, and you look really happy, you're not bitter!" Lorraine told him, as he agreed: "Not anymore."

He added that rehab saved him and "centred him and brought him back to himself".

The pair shared a laugh as Les admitted he’d moved back to Scotland from London "so his kids would be Scottish."

They reflected on fellow bandmate Alan Longmuir’s death in 2018.

Founding band member Alan died aged 70, three weeks after being flown home from Mexico by air ambulance.

"He was my best mate. I met Alan in 1981, it was shortly after I was invited to leave school and join my first band. He was friends with the bass player John Wright, so I got to meet Alan.

"I sneaked into a couple of pubs with Alan, had a wee beer. He was a great guy and I sadly miss him," Les admitted.

Les also chatted about Bay City Rollers’ guitarist Eric Faulkner’s struggle with Encephalitis, a viral and life-threatening condition which saw the musician nearly lose his life in 2015.

Lorraine asked if Les would ever be up for making an appearance on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here – but Les wasn’t quite sure what she was talking about.

"Which one’s that?" he asked.

"That’s the one they go into the jungle and eat horrible things, like kangaroos’ bottoms and things," Lorraine explained.

Les said he’d be up for it, although he wasn’t sure on the kangaroo bums.

"If you cook it in a bit of soy sauce and ginger," he laughed.

Lorraine said he was definitely 'resilient' enough to go on the show, dubbing him "a real survivor."

"Put me forward for Strictly Come Dancing!" Les told her.

"Would you do Strictly Come Dancing?" Lorraine wondered.

Les said: "Yeah! If I was asked."

Lorraine suggested he could dance to one of Bay City Rollers’ biggest hits, which seemed to impress Les.

But sadly, his Strictly dreams never came true.

Tributes flooded in for the 70s pop legend, including ex-manager John who broke the tragic news on Thursday.

"I’m very sad and shocked and so is Peko, his wife. She is heartbroken and called me from Les' phone with the news. I picked up and thought it was Les wanting a chat.

"I'm still in shock right now, I spoke to him last week and he was on great form and happy about life and happy to book his tour.

"We were friends as well as working partners."

John continued: “He was hoping to get it all going again and he was one of the hardest working men in the music industry.

John added: "We got on so great and he was great fun to be around. He had his moments but was always a good laugh to be around and a great performer."

Les’ family also released a heartbreaking statement after the announcement of his death, writing: "It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of our beloved husband and father Leslie Richard McKeown.

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"Leslie died suddenly at home on Tuesday 20 April 2021. We are currently making arrangements for his funeral and ask for privacy after the shock of our profound loss."

He is the third band member to lose his life, following the deaths of Alan Longmuir in 2018 and Ian Mitchell in September 2020 from throat cancer.

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