Joe Moss, the manager for the Smiths and Johnny Mar, has died at the age of 72. He passed yesterday (Oct. 22) following his battle with bone cancer.

Moss was a recognizable figure in Manchester, where he owned the clothing store Crazy Face. It was there he eventually met a 17-year-old Marr. When Marr teamed up with Morrissey as the Smiths, Moss helped the newly formed band find rehearsal space, book shows and sign their first record deals. Moss parted ways with the Smiths in 1983, just as the band was about to head overseas for their first U.S. tour.

Afterward, Moss promoted shows at Manchester’s Night and Day Café and managed the Britpop outfit Marion and indie-rockers Haven, both of which had albums produced by Marr. Moss resumed as manager for Marr in 1999, a position he held up until his death.

“Joe was a one off, an amazing person and totally unique,” Marr said in a statement. “He started looking after me when I was seventeen; it was Joe who put the idea in my head to go and knock on Morrissey’s door. He invested his time and money in us when no one else wanted to know, and his belief in us kept us going.”

“Without him there wouldn’t have been any Smiths,” Marr added. “He was an original beatnik and a true bohemian, respected by all. Everyone who met him loved him; he can never be replaced.”

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