A HEARTBROKEN family have paid tribute to a "beautiful and extraordinary" Southampton musician.

The wife of local artist and poet Greg Gilbert has announced this evening that he has tragically passed away following his brave battle against cancer.

Stacey Heale, who married Greg in 2018, posted on her Facebook page a tribute to her husband describing him as "beautiful and extraordinary".

Greg's brother Aaron, also paid a moving public tribute to his 'best friend'.

Hampshire Chronicle:

Stacey said: "My beautiful boy Greg Gilbert died this afternoon.

"He was with his brother and cousin and surrounded by stories and laughter of his childhood. He was calm and gently slipped away into the stars.

"I spent last night alone in bed with him. His energy was far too big for his human body now, I could feel this. I opened the window and told him to go and be in the universe.

"Tonight we are in shock but filling our boots with inappropriate jokes, something that Greg would insist on.

Hampshire Chronicle:

"Greg was a extraordinary human - not of this world, I’m sure of that.

"His wonder at the world and creativity is something I’ve never seen in anyone else.

"He told me to always believe in magic, that I will never be alone because it is all around us.

"My heart is broken but full of magic."

The couple got engaged at the beginning of 2014, but did not get married as Greg was too ill.

At the time, it was thought that he was suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, but was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer, which had spread to his lungs, in winter 2016.

Stacey launched a huge fundraising campaign to pay for lifesaving treatment not available on the NHS, which passed its initial £100,000 target in 48 hours, becoming one of the fastest ever campaigns on the Go Fund Me crowdfunding website.

Posting on Twitter, Greg's brother Aaron said: "I have no idea how to do this right now but this afternoon at 2.22 we walked my brother back home to somewhere out there in the ether.

"Greg died surrounded by the endless love that us and all of you have given him on this journey, and we will never be able to fully express how much it meant to him (and all of us) to have you by our side lifting us up like a winged army.

"Your messages, your encouragement and your compassion have been our oxygen for the last five years."

The Give4Greg campaign went on to raise more than double the initial target.

Greg was taken off treatment for his cancer in August this year.

Greg was a well-known to music fans thanks to his band, Delays, whose hits include Hey Girl, Nearer than Heaven, Lost in a Melody and Long Time Coming.

He has also made a name for himself in the worlds of both poetry and art. His incredibly detailed biro miniatures have been exhibited extensively.