'Wild Thing' singer Reg Presley of The Troggs dies at 71

Feb. 5, 2013 at 10:17 AM ET

Petra Niemeier - K K / Getty Images Contributor file /
Reg Presley, circa 1960.

Reg Presley, lead singer of British rock band The Troggs whose raucous "Wild Thing" topped the charts in 1966, died on Monday, one of his agents has confirmed. He was 71.

"Reg Presley passed onto a new gig overnight," manager Denis Vaughan confirmed to TODAY.

The musician's daughter Karen told WENN: "He passed away peacefully at home (in Andover, England) and myself, my brother and our mother were with him. We're absolutely heartbroken."

It was just over a year since Presley announced he had been diagnosed with lung cancer after he became ill at a performance in Germany. 

"I am receiving chemotherapy treatment and at the moment not feeling too bad," Presley said at the time. "However I've had to call time on The Troggs and retire."

Presley's friend and music publicist Keith Altham noted on Facebook on Monday that Presley had recently suffered several strokes. 

"He was one very real person in a sometimes very unreal world," Altham said. "Our thoughts are with his wife Brenda and the family and those legion of fans who loved his music and his band. I will miss him hugely."

"Wild Thing" was written by American songwriter Chip Taylor, but the rough-and-tumble garage sound of the Troggs brought it to life, and it topped the U.S. charts and hit No. 2 in Britain. Presley also had enduring hit with "Love Is All Around," which was covered in 1994 by Scottish group Wet Wet Wet and was featured in "Four Weddings and a Funeral"; another version was included in the 2003 film "Love Actually."

One of his hobbies was the research and exploration of the origins of crop circles and other unexplained phenomena, and in 2002 he wrote a book, "Wild Things They Don't Tell Us." The BBC reported in 2003 that he planned to use the royalties from the cover version of "Love Is All Around" to pursue that interest further. 

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