A legend from Liverpool’s music scene died in hospital after a weeks-long battle with severe Covid-19.
His death sparked a wave of grief from friends and colleagues who revered him as a creative force in the city, not only in music but in his later career as a filmmaker, producer, and plastic artist.
Hampi was also the pioneer of the popular early 1980s band Hambi & The Dance, signed to Virgin Records, before moving on to recording and directing other artists, then retraining later in the movie.
The father of four was ill for several weeks before his death, but managed to post a disturbing picture to his Facebook page on September 27, showing him in his hospital bed with a bubble helmet attached to an oxygen source. .
Photo captioned with a simple warning: “To all my Facebook friends who think Covid is a hoax. Think again.”
His close friend and collaborator Andy McCluskey, lead singer of Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, told ECHO, “Honestly, I feel like my soul has been taken from me.”
McCluskey said he was scheduled to have lunch with Hampi a few weeks before his hospitalization, but the upcoming party meant he was too busy to meet him.
He said, “We are musical and visual creative friends and partners for many years.
“You name it, he did it. He was relentlessly positive, and that was the amazing thing about him. He took a lot of beating in his life and it wasn’t always easy, but he always came back stronger with a good idea.”
“It was great support, too.
“There will be times when I feel a little uncertain or I will experience some wiggle, but he was always saying Trust the people you work with.
“If someone needs your support with the value of what they do and has always invested in people, that was like their motto.
“I’m dope today to be honest.”
McCluskey said that Humpy, who was a grandfather and husband to Leslie’s wife, had been sick for several weeks, but that many of his friends felt he would succeed.
He said, “He was in and out of the intensive care unit for a number of weeks, and he had a very serious case of Covid disease.
“I had a case at a very similar time but I was only sick for two days, I didn’t feel 100%. It just shows what the lottery total is this disease.”
Other famous personalities on the creative scene in Liverpool shared their memories and grief over the news of Hambi’s death.
Photographer Francesco Melina, known for his work with bands including The Clash, posted on Facebook: “At the moment, my heart hurts.
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“My elder friend Hampi Haralembus was taken away by Covid-19. I can’t get it. It looked like he was on his way to recovery. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
“Hampy, he was one of my first friends when I arrived in Liverpool. We became very close friends, and our shared love for music, art and culture culminated in the founding of a record company and helping local musicians in the 1980s.
“We had our disagreement, who wouldn’t, but I’ve always been impressed with his tenacity and drive to get things done.
“It’s hard for me, right now, to think that I will never see him and talk to him again. I will miss you, brother. Rest in peace in Hampi.
My heartfelt condolences to Leslie and his children.
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Liverpool’s The Real People group posted: “Hambi helped run The Real People from the mid to late 1990s, and at the Hambi Pink Motor Museum studios in Lark Lane, The Realies recorded some of their most famous songs and albums, notably What’s On Outside.” .
“ Hampi was hospitalized by COVID-19 and in his latest Facebook post from his hospital bed, Hampi warned his friends that COVID-19 was not a hoax and that everyone needs to start to be extra careful about the pandemic.
“This really symbolized Hampi, that even when he was fighting for his life he was thinking of his friends.”
However, the protector’s work will continue.
McCluskey said OMD is scheduled to tour next year and will showcase cinematic shows produced by Hambi for more than a decade.
Hambi has been known to be a champion of good causes, including black rights, and has made a number of documentaries.
Mr. McCluskey added, “At the moment, I am very sad for his family and I am very sad about town. I have lost someone who has done a lot of wonderful things.”